Learie Constantine

Learie Constantine was the son of Lebrun Constantine, a plantation foreman who toured England as an allrounder with the West Indian cricketers of 1900 and 1906. In 1923 they both played for Trinidad against British Guiana at Georgetown, one of the few instances of a father and son appearing together in a first-class match; both of them long cherished the occasion. In constant family practice the father insisted on a high standard of fielding which was to prove the foundation of his son's success.

Learie Constantine was one of the great personalities of the game, although in his debut series against England in 1928 his figures was unremarkable in the form of 5 wickets for 262 runs and he made only 89 runs in six innings with the bat, Learie Constantine made a distinct impact. He was as fast as anyone in the world at that time. Furthermore, he bowled with dramatic intensity, managing by his demeanour to suggest that even a majestic drive for four off his bowling must have occured by accident. 

As a batsman and he could have been considered an all-rounder, Constantine operated in one way, attack. With a quick eye and supple wrists typical of the game in the West Indies, Learie Constantine could take any attack apart.  Constantine's bating was typical of the quality that distinguishes the West Indian's expression of that art. Naturally quick reflexes, good eye sight, natural athletic ability and an innate ball sense.

As a fielder Learie Constantine was a specialist at cover-point, and those who saw him in his prime said he was one of the great out fielders of all time, athletic, panther-quick, sure-handed and with a arm that could riffle the ball into the wicket-keeper's gloves like a bullet even from the deepest boundary which was not then limited to 75 yards. 

In eighteen Tests between 1928 and 1939 his overall figures were poor - 641 runs at 19.42; 58 wickets at 30.10. On the other hand he virtually won two important Tests and shaped a third. At Georgetown, in 1930, when West Indies beat England for the first time, George Headley made a major batting contribution; but it was Constantine who twice broke the English batting with four for 35 and five for 87, figures not approached by any other bowler in the match.

At Port of Spain in 1934-35 he levelled the series - which West Indies eventually won by one match - when, after scoring 90 and 31, he took two for 41 and ended his second innings three for 11 (in 14.5 overs) with the master stroke of having as great a resister as Maurice Leyland lbw with only one ball of the match remaining. In his last Test, at The Oval in 1939, when he was 37 years old, his five for 73 took West Indies to a first-innings lead.

After, his serious cricketing days were drawing to an end. Constantine did occasional writing and broadcasting. Among his books are Cricket In The Sun, Cricket And I, How To Play Cricket, Cricketers' Carnival, The Changing Face Of Cricket (with Denzil Batchelor), and Colour Bar. Years of dogged study were rewarded when he was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1954. Returning to Trinidad he was elected an M.P. in his country's first democratic parliament; became Minister of Works in the government and subsequently High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago in London from 1962 until 1964. 

Learie Constantine was awarded the M.B.E. in 1945; knighted in 1962; made an honorary Master of the Bench in 1963; and created a life peer in 1969. He served various periods as a governor of the B.B.C., a Rector of St. Andrews, a member of the Race Relations Board and the Sports Council. Lord Constantine, MBE, died in London on July 1, 1971 as, Baron Constantine, of Marvel in Trinidad and Tobago, and of Nelson, in the County Palatine of Lancaster.

Learie Constantine Test Cricket Statistics

Full Name Learie Nicholas Constantine

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Date of Birth

September 21, 1901, Petit Valley, Diego Martin, Trinidad
Died July 1, 1971, Brondesbury, Hampstead, London 

Test Debut

England v West Indies at Lord's - Jun 23-26, 1928 

Last Test Match

England v West Indies at The Oval - Aug 19-22, 1939 

Batting Style

Right hand bat

Bowling Style

Right-arm fast

Screenshot Description
Cricket Legends These players are the 50 greatest cricketers of the century, as voted by a blue-ribbon panel of judges assembled by ESPN. The panelists were asked to list in order, their top 50 players. Cricketing legends from Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and the West Indies all made it to the final 50. Among them are some famous West Indies fast bowlers, great Aussie legends, and modern heros of the game. Disc 4 features Keith Miller WG Grace Graeme Pollock Malcolm Marshall
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