Desmond Haynes – “Joe” to his teammates. He was born in the parish of St. James in Barbados on February 15, 1956. It was not long before he imbibed the rich tradition for which Barbados is known. Desmond Haynes spent his childhood playing countless matches, on the road or on the beach, or on the nearby ground. The implements were usually a tennis ball and a bat fashioned out of a flat piece of wood.
His hero: Haynes’ hero was Seymour Nurse. It was Nurse that a wide-eyed nine-year-old Haynes watched in his first Test match at the Kensington Oval Nurse slammed a double century and Haynes’ admiration for the Test star grew. At the age of 16, he was called to trials for the Barbados Youth Team for the annual Benson and Hedges tournament. The squad was coached by the man on whom he had patterned his batting—Seymour Nurse.
Desmond Haynes’s first Shell Shield season came in 1977. A few early failures had made his place insecure on the Barbados side. But a fine inning of 120 with twenty 4s against the touring Pakistani side helped to open the selectors’ eyes. This particular knock plus Roy Fredericks’ decision to retire from the Test scene opened the way for Haynes.
A compact defense, a good eye, and basic soundness of technique make Haynes the kind of Opener any captain would love to have. In his very first one-day international, against Australia in 1978, Desmond Haynes hammered two 6s and sixteen 4s in a score of 148 from 136 balls. Haynes had done enough to justify his selection. Less than a fortnight later, made his Test debut in a sensational manner. When on a bad pitch at the Queen’s Park Oval, Australia was sent packing for 90.
West Indies had to see the last hour. The pitch had not entirely its devil. Spearheading the attack wasJeff Thomson. The spectators perhaps expected a cautious approach. But there was Haynes, who was striking the ball with the meat of the bat to make 53 out of 79 without loss. In an over from Jeff Thomson, Haynes himself helped to 20 including a marvelous hook shot six.