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West Indies Players – Junior Murray
When West Indies wicketkeeper Jeff Dujon left, the selectors struggled to find an immediate replacement. One of the candidates for this post was Junior Murray. To say the former Windward Islands goalkeeper didn’t quite fit the bill is an understatement. Instead, Murray played musical chairs with the Caribbean side for nine years – between 1992 and 2003.
Born on January 20, 1968, Murray became the first player from the small island of Grenada to represent the West Indies at the highest level. He had this honor when he made his Test debut in Sydney during the 1992/93 tour of Australia. Unfortunately, in the 33 Tests and 55 ODIs Murray has played since that tour, he has failed to get enough difference in front of or behind the stumps.
West Indies cricket fans have often found Murray to be clumsy behind the stumps. His ineptitude often led to him dropping simple catches in the field. There wasn’t a pair of goalkeeping gloves that could cover up Murray’s shortcomings at the best of times. Still, he managed to take 99 catches and three stumpings in his Test career.
If Murray’s wicketkeeping was not up to Dujon’s standards, his batting was also far behind. A Test batting average of 22.39 and an ODI average of 22.60 is hardly anything to brag about. Murray managed to score a solitary Test century – his only century at international level. That unbeaten 101 at number seven against New Zealand in Wellington in 1995.
Murray normally batted at No. 7 for most of his Test career. In the Windward Islands, he batted in a higher position – usually between positions 4 and 6 in the batting order. He was a more reliable batsman at first-class level, never playing for teams other than Grenada, the Windward Islands and the West Indies.
After a productive regional season in 2002, Murray was a surprise selection for India’s tour of the West Indies. He thus displaced the doubtful Ridley Jacobs, who at the time was suffering from a temporary loss of form. Unsurprisingly, Murray failed spectacularly against the better bowling and was not particularly impressive behind the stumps. He was never selected for the Caribbean team again, having satisfied the selectors that his performances at the regional level were highly flattering.
Junior Murray extended his playing career in the Windward Islands until 2007, until he was 39 years old – a sign of the lack of cricketing talent in the Windward Islands at the time. His first-class career ended when he failed with the bat – a fitting end to an unfulfilled cricketing career.
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