Photo : Alvin Kallicharran

My diaspora groups extends hearty congratulations to Guyanese, West Indian, Warwickshire, Transvaal, and Queensland batting legend, Alvin Isaac Kallicharran, age 69, on being awarded the prestigious British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s 2019 honours list for his contributions to cricket and charity. Kallicharran received other honors from Guyana and from the Indo-Guyanese and Indo-Caribbean groups in America.

Cricket boards in New York and Guyana sent out congrats to former West Indies captain who now lives in South Carolina and coaches cricket to several teams in America. The Medal of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), which was granted to several individuals from the British Empire, was first established in 1917. The medal was part of the Order and was given for either meritorious service or for gallantry. Report states that the award was given to 2,015 people, 800 of whom were from foreign countries. Kallicharran was given the award for meritorious service. He can now use the letters, BEM, after his name.

Alvin Kallicharran was born on March 21st 1949 and hails from the large sugar plantation of Port Mourant on the Corentyne in Berbice county. He played cricket for Tain Settlement and Port Mourant where other greats (like Rohan Kanhai, Basil Butcher, Joe Solomon, etc.) made their debut. He made his debut for Guyana in the first class Shell Shield competition at the tender age of 17 against the Windward Islands in Grenada and for the West Indies in 1972 against New Zealand at Bourda, scoring centuries.

Kallicharran has had a very long and distinguished career for several teams. He had a special batting ability against pace and spin which few displayed. He is known for his onslaught against Dennis Lillee in England in the first world cup. Lillee cheered him on. The stats tell his special ability as a runs machine. He produced close to 50,000 runs in Test, ODI, First Class and List A cricket during his career. He scored almost 100 centuries in first class cricket. He has represented Guyana, West Indies, Warwickshire, Transvaal, Orange Free State (South Africa), and Queensland (Australia) during his career.

Kalli, as he was popularly called, was part of the team for the first two World Cups played in London. He played in 66 test matches and scored 4,399 test runs with 12 centuries and 21 fifties. For 8 of those fifties, he got out in the 90s. He was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1973. In 1983, Kalli became the only cricketer on the county circuit to score over 2000 runs in the season with 8 centuries, 3 of which were double hundreds. Quite justifiably, Alvin was named one of the Wisden’s 5 cricketers of the year in 1983.

Kalli was a role model for the youths. It was an amazing honour from the Queen for the contributions to sports. He deserves the honor. It is regrettable that the West Indies cricket board did not see it fit to do more for this outstanding cricketer of yesteryear.

The Indo Caribbean people are very grateful for his contributions to the game and for being a role model for young Indians.

Reports said Kalli contributed immensely to charities, having taken part in and organized matches in various parts of the world including in New York where he played for a Kanhai 11 against a Sunil Gavaskar 11 in 1986. Later, Kalli, according to reports, along with Sunil Gavaskar, organized a charity match where India played the Rest of World XI in 1997 for the Sri Satya Sai Baba entity where Sachin Tendulkar participated. Kalli supported numerous other charity events such as the Indian Ocean Disaster Relief, the Oracle Head and Neck Cancer Research Trust and has participated in other charitable matches when he worked for the Lashings World XI during the period 2001-2009. He participated in several other charity events.

The Guyana cricket board praised the former cricketer for his achievement from the Queen.

Brian Davis, who managed the West Indies team while Kallicharran was captain, described him as an “affable person with a tremendous sense of humor. It could not happen to a nicer guy. He stuck with the team when many others were leaving. He was a great batsman. He deserves the award”. Attachments area