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One of cricket's finest





I first met him in the mid 90s.

I had previously heard his voice in the late 1970s as a captivated World Series teenage devotee during the heady Packer days.

He started off as a news correspondent which seemed only natural seeing his father was a respected journalist. He regaled with humorous stories of his days on that beat when hard news should have taken priority, but such was his passion for the red-ball game, those stories were often overshadowed by flannelled West Indies progress.

He played hockey for Barbados and club cricket on the treasured isle. In 1958 he discovered his vocation and realised he had found his happy place when he was appointed as a cricket correspondent for the first time.

His career in cricket rocketed when his voice was permitted to soothe, educate and entertain on radio in 1965. That was when he broadcast his first test match and the cricketing world was introduced to a Caribbean treasure.

Such has been his excellence for decades, his soothing dulcet tones were synonymous with the game. The world seemed a better place when this doyen of commentators engaged with his magnificently unique lilt and said, "Welcome to you wherever you are".

His memory was a veritable bank of knowledge and his stories were always laced with humour. He told a superb story one night about one Barbados fast bowler from the late 1800s called Float Woods who, upon arriving on a West Indies tour of England in 1900, realised that a combination of his newly acquired English-style bowling boots and wet conditions underfoot severely hampered his normal effectiveness. He just could not stand up in delivery and kept sliding all over the place.

A swift solution was reached and Float cut off the soles of his boots and continued to bowl for the remainder of the tour with boots consisting of leather uppers sans the original leather soles. This hastily arranged comfortable and more familiar barefoot style reaped 72 wickets in total on that tour while topping the West Indies bowling averages.

Only this walking cricket encyclopaedia knew this stuff.

One of the delights of working the Caribbean was interacting with this remarkable colleague both on and off the field.

I feel privileged to have had the honour of often sharing the commentary box with Winston 'Tony' Cozier.

He was one of cricket's finest gentlemen.

RIP.


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