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Is Tucker the best ever Cup Match batsman?

There's good reason why Janeiro Tucker inherited the moniker ‘Mr Cup Match' considering his accomplishments.

In years to come, he may well be recognised as the greatest batsman in the history of the summer classic.

It's a lofty reputation to carry, yet it's difficult to counter any argument that suggests otherwise.

Certainly in the modern era, there nobody who can match his achievements.

Already the highest scorer in a single innings (186), Tucker added another two records to his collection last week, becoming the all-time runscorer in Cup Match (1,373) and the first to score four centuries.

The fourth arrived last Thursday, an unbeaten 104. Had Somerset not decided to declare, there's no reason why he couldn't have added to that tally.

It was an innings that offered not a single chance to St. George's' weary attack

Often it's only after retirement that a player's achievements are fully appreciated. Although as it is now, many will already be of the opinion he stands in a class of his own.

The history books tell a tale and will continue to tell that he sits above such legends as Alma ‘Champ' Hunt and Lloyd James and, of course, the man he replaced at the top of the pile, Charlie Marshall (1,357 runs).

Marshall showed a touch of class when walked on the field to congratulate Tucker after seeing his record broken.

Now in his mid-30s, the Southampton Rangers all-rounder is reaching the end of his career but should he remain injury-free, there's no reason why he can't further build on these extraordinary records.

His craft with the willow has never been doubted but with ball in hand he also possesses an abundance of talent.

He's shown that time and time again, when the team's in trouble he's the man to turn to.

Over the last decade or more, he's been an exceptional club and international player.

Add a couple more Janeiro Tuckers in the national team, Bermuda probably wouldn't find themselves wallowing in the depths of World League Three Division, playing alongside such powerhouses as Nepal and Papau Guinea.

As it is, Somesert need only one Janeiro to dominate cricket's annual showpiece as they have for the last two years.

* * * *

WHILE Tucker was the hero in last week's clash, there was no doubting who filled the role of villain.

Treadwell Gibbons' shameless reaction to his dismissal should bar him from ever playing again in the match.

To refuse ‘to walk' is bad enough but to threaten other players with his bat and have to be escorted off the pitch, will have enraged both sets of supporters.

To continue to describe cricket as ‘the gentleman's game' may be far fetched given the off-field thuggery displayed by some Test players and various match-fixing scandals.

But there's no place for the kind of the abusive behaviour shown by the St. George's batsmen even though he may have felt aggrieved by the umpire's decision.

Unfair decisions are part of the game but if the finger's raised, the player must turn and walk back to the pavilion. Anything less is simply bad sportsmanship.

Publicly, Gibbons has offered no apology. Maybe has he apologised to his team-mates and, more importantly, to his opposing players, but if he has it hasn't been reported.

Cup Match doesn't fall under auspices of Bermuda Cricket Board — they have no authority over how it is controlled or organised and are unable to handle disciplinary matters. Or at least it appears that way.

But they are the governing body of all cricket and as such one would have thought they would, at the very least, have expressed their condemnation.

Incredulously, they did the exact opposite.

They included Gibbons in the national squad currently training for this year's World Cup qualifiers in Dubai.

And they wonder why they are the target of so much criticism.

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Published August 08, 2013 at 9:58 pm (Updated August 08, 2013 at 9:58 pm)

Is Tucker the best ever Cup Match batsman?

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