Jim Allen (cricketer)
|Full name||Charles Henry Allen|
|Born||15 August 1951|
Harris Village, Montserrat
|Role||Batsman, occasional wicketkeeper|
|Domestic team information|
|First-class debut||15 January 1972 |
Leeward Islands v Windward Islands
|Last First-class||3 March 1983 |
Leeward Islands v Windward Islands
|List A debut||16 January 1974 |
Leeward and Windward Islands v MCC
|Last List A||26 January 1983 Leeward Islands v Guyana|
Source: CricketArchive, 26 November 2007
Charles Henry "Jim" Allen (born 15 August 1951) is a former Montserratian first-class cricketer who was a part of the World Series Cricket West Indies XI and is considered the greatest ever Montserrat sportsperson.
Born in Harris Village, Montserrat, Allen starred in Montserrat cricket from a young age and made his debut for the Montserrat national team in 1969, and his first-class debut on 15 January 1972 for Leeward Islands against Windward Islands at Roseau, scoring one and 82. An attacking right-hand batsman with an unorthodox, open–chest, wide-legs batting stance, Allen was soon considered a more exciting batsman than his Leeward Islands team mate Vivian Richards.
Allen became the first professional Montserratian sportsperson when he began playing in England during the northern summer, turning out for teams in the Lancashire and Cheshire Leagues. Allen's best season was 1976/77, where he scored 559 first-class runs at 50.81, with a highest score of 150. This form led to a lucrative offer to join the World Series Cricket competition when it commenced in Australia in late 1977. The only member of the West Indian squad not to play Test cricket, Allen appeared in three SuperTests against the Australians but struggled, scoring a total of 44 runs with a high score of 20.
Following the end of World Series Cricket, Allen returned to the West Indies for the 1978/79 season where he scored his highest first-class score of 161 against Jamaica. In 1978, Allen was awarded with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to cricket. Allen sustained an eye injury during a practice session in May 1981 and underwent surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He was forced to wear contact lenses and played three more years before retiring. Upon his retirement, Allen had scored 3,067 first-class runs at 34.07. He also took three wickets at 30.00 with his right arm medium pace and took 42 catches and a stumping.
Since his retirement, an annual lecture series, held on his birthday, has been established in Montserrat to honour Allen. Additionally, a number of Montserratian artists have written poems about Allen and there are calls to name a local street or erect a statue of Allen in front of the government headquarters in the de facto Montserrat capital Brades. Allen's importance to Montserrat was encapsulated by local writer Professor Howard Fergus, who said "He (Allen) had made all Montserratians see, feel and know that they, in spite of all, could scale any height of achievement accomplished by those overbrimming with opportunity."
- Fergus, H. (1996) Gallery Montserrat: Some Prominent People In Our History, Canoe Press, Montserrat. ISBN 976-8125-25-X.
- Hector, L. (2001) "Fan the Flame", 24 August 2001. Accessed 9 November 2007.
- Durand, H. (2001) "50th Birthday Event Celebrates Jim Allen", Montserrat Reporter. Accessed 9 November 2007.
- Montserrat Reporter (2003) "Mike Findlay Lionizes Montserrat’s Jim Allen", Montserrat Reporter, 29 August 2003. Accessed 8 November 2007.
- "Jim Allen", Cricket Archive. Accessed 10 November 2007.