Wes Hall, legendary fast bowler for the West Indies, grew up in the least luxurious of situations in Barbados. Now 81 years old, the ICC Cricket Hall of Famer reflects on his journey.
Our home was full of love but had not even one of the modern conveniences. My hope, as an 8-year-old, was that cricket would give me an outlet to experience a better quality of life. My goal was to one day play on the West Indies team.
My dad had a low-paying job and my mother worked more than one job to try to help provide. My mother was a remarkable woman of faith and values; I really looked up to her. When I was young, I was religious but it wasn’t until much later when I understood that I could accept Christ as my Savior and experience a significant spiritual relationship with God.
Later on, as a politician, I found myself responding harshly to a reporter on a television program. My mother saw this on television and reacted with a reprimand. “You didn’t act like the kind of son I brought up,” she said.
That kind of honest, loving talk from my mother has always been helpful and appreciated. Her influence and discipline helped shape who I am today. As a West Indies player, I wanted to respect our opponents as competitors and not as the enemy.
My international Test cricket career got off to a good start against India. I especially enjoyed two seasons playing in Australia in the Sheffield Shield for Queensland. My Test cricket hat trick against Pakistan was the first for a West Indies player. In a famous Test match, I bowled the final over in the tied Test against Australia, one of only two such ties in Test cricket history.
And in a Test at Lord’s, the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac wrote, “Possessing a long hostile run-up to the wicket, with an equally long follow-through, Hall bowled as though he meant to take a wicket with every delivery. Nobody will ever forget his famous last day in the Test at Lord’s, when he bowled on and on, hour after hour.”
But it wasn’t until after my playing career that I turned to Christ as Lord, asking Him to forgive my sins and be my personal Savior. That’s when my new life began.
I wasted some of the best years of my life not following Him. It has been wonderful in the years since to grow as a follower of Christ, to serve many cricketers and the West Indies team. One of the most special times was when Malcolm Marshall, another of our West Indies famous fast bowlers, in the last month of his life, entered into a conversation with me about his eternal life, and I had the joy of introducing Malcolm to his life-changing personal faith.
It is a joy to know the Lord personally and serve others.
—Wes Hall, West Indies cricketeer