Some players have a significant impact on cricket beyond the boundary. Former Trinidad and West Indies wicketkeeper, Deryck Murray, is one such player. The slender wicketkeeper and lower-order batsman played international cricket for 17 years. However, his involvement in cricket went beyond 1981- the year that he retired from First-class cricket.
Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad on May 20th, 1943, Deryck Lance Murray made his Test debut when he was only 20 years old – against England in 1963. In those days, wicketkeepers were selected primarily for their ability behind the stumps. This is unlike modern cricket where selectors expect wicketkeepers to contribute significantly with the bat. Murray's international career proved that he was adept with the bat; he even made some inspired contributions to the West Indies' cause with the bat on a few occasions.
Between 1963 and 1980, Deryck Murray played 62 Tests and 26 ODIs. With 181 catches and 8 stumpings, Murray proved his ability behind the stumps on many occasions. Mike Selvey of Cricinfo described Murray's work behind the stumps as "compact" and "tidy." His batting was not too far off either, with his composure providing good support in the lower order at critical moments. While Murray did not score a Test century, he had 11 Test half-centuries and a Test batting average of 22.90.
The zenith of Murray's international career was likely the last-wicket partnership he shared with Andy Roberts in the must-win group match against Pakistan at the 1975 World Cup. Pakistan reduced the West Indies to 203/9, when number 11 batsman Andy Roberts strode to the crease to join Murray. The pair held on and secured an important victory for the regional team. They went on to win the first World Cup, but history would have been different if it were not for the composure of Murray in stroking an unbeaten 61; an innings that typified his character.
Deryck Murray was also instrumental in forming the West Indies Players Association, which ensured that Caribbean players had necessary representation and bargaining power. He is one of the most educated players to have played for the Caribbean side, having studied at Cambridge University in England.
In later years, Murray was also a diplomat and cricket administrator. Whether he was snaring a catch off the bowling of the awesome foursome of the late 70s or trying to halt the decline of West Indies cricket, Murray remained dedicated and industrious. He may not be the best wicketkeeper the West Indies ever had, but he was likely the most influential.