He may have seemed a trigger-happy dasher, but he also had the sharpest of cricketing brains
For the sheer pleasure that he gave the world as a batsman, Rohan Bholalall Kanhai is my favourite cricketer. Averaging fractionally under 48 in a distinguished Test career that saw him rise to become the captain of West Indies, Rohan had Bradmanesque qualities. This implies that he was ruthless, uncaring of the reputations of bowlers, and daring in his strokeplay. But at the same time he was a crafty batsman who understood the finer points of technique better than most. The great Sunil Gavaskar shares my view that he is the best he has watched and learned from. How many people know more about batting than Sunil?
Rohan was by no means a big man. He had a feline grace about him, rather like a leopard stalking its prey. Suddenly he would spring into action and devastate a bowler, taking him completely by surprise.
He scored in excess of 6000 runs, with 15 centuries and 28 half-centuries, and had the capacity to make batting look very easy. I first saw him in 1958-59 when I was a schoolboy and he caned the rather elderly Indian attack for 256. Garfield Sobers and Basil Butcher too made centuries in that Test, but Rohan's strokeplay was almost incandescent. I was not very old then - in my 13th year and already a cricket addict - but I remember his batting to this day. It was in vivid contrast to his scratchy effort of 90 in 1966-67, in Calcutta again, when he could not do a thing right. The pitch at the Eden Gardens was one of uncertain pace and bounce; the ball would stop after it hit the ground and Rohan's timing was all awry. He was dropped a couple of times.