Clive Lloyd - The Striker

Date Published: 
TT Guardian
Nasser Khan

Sixty-five-year-old Clive Hubert Lloyd was born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1944, and attended Chatham High School. There he made his cricketing debut for Guyana during the 1963/’64 season, and played his first Test match for the West Indies two years later, against India in 1966, blasting 82 and 78 not out, the latter in partnership with Gary Sobers, to win the match.

In 1968, he joined Lancashire, the start of a lengthy relationship, which lasted 18 years until 1986. He captained the West Indies in a total of 74 Tests from 1974, taking over from Rohan Kanhai, until he retired in 1985, a period during which his team was beaten in only two of his 18 Test series, albeit having the likes of players like Roberts, Marshall, Garner, Holding, Richards, Greenidge, Haynes, Gomes and Dujon.

In spite of all these highly-talented players he instilled in them a sense of professionalism, pride and passion, traits so sadly lacking in recent West Indies teams. An imposing figure at over six feet tall, the lanky, bespectacled, mustachioed and ambidextrous left-hand batsman and right-hand medium pace bowler made his home Test debut in 1968 at Queen’s Park Oval, where he scored a match-saving 118 in a drawn match against England.

At his peak, he was a tremendous striker of the ball, a powerful destroyer of many a bowling attack during his career. As the regional team’s captain, he won 36 and lost just 12 of his record 74 Tests in charge. These also included an unbeaten string of 27 games and 11 successive victories, following the disappointing 1983 World Cup defeat.

He also led the Windies in 81 ODIs and to two World Cup titles in 1975 and 1979. In the 1975 final, he struck a match-winning 102 off 85 balls, and was named Man of the Match.He made his highest Test score of 242 not out against India at Bombay in 1975, in yet another match-winning effort in the fifth and deciding game.

As captain of the Windies, he scored 14 of his 19 Test centuries, and was the first West Indian to appear in 100 Tests. As a useful medium-pacer, he bowled a crucial spell of 12-1-38-1 in the 1975 World Cup final at Lord’s. As a fielder, he was one of the finest cover fielders around, until knee injuries took over and he moved to the slips position, where he was equally effective.

It was the unsuccessful tour of Australia in 1975-’76 when the West Indies were decimated 5-1 by the rampaging Dennis Lillee and company, that led him to embark on an all-pace bowling attack, a formula that worked successfully for the regional team for many years during their period of dominance between 1975 and 1995.

In April, 1976, at Queen’s Park Oval, he declared in the second innings vs India and lost the match (WI 359 and 271-6 declared, India 228 and 406-4). Thankfully, they won the fourth and final Test to clinch the four-match series 2-1.

During the Packer crisis, Lloyd resigned as captain after disagreeing with the selectors on the eve of a Test against Australia (1977-’78), but later returned to lead his team to the 1979 World Cup.

Centuries at Adelaide and Old Trafford followed, and back in the West Indies, he had the most consistent form of his career, with nine successive innings where his lowest score was 49 (run out). He averaged an impressive 76 in the series against England and a mammoth 172.50 in domestic cricket.

On his final tours, he averaged 67 in England (1984) as the West Indies completed the famous 5-0 “blackwash,” and 50.85 against Australia (1984-’85) in a triumphant 3-1 series. He has coached and commentated on the game.

After retiring as a player, Clive Lloyd has remained heavily-involved in cricket, having stints as manager of the Guyana and Windies teams, coaching, commentating and as an ICC match referee. He is on the West Indies cricket development committee, a West Indies Cricket Board director and current chairman of the ICC’s Cricket Committee. To date, he has officiated as match referee in 53 Tests, 133 ODIS and 2 T20Is.

Clive Lloyd played 490 first class matches for Guyana, Lancashire and the West Indies, recording over 31,000 runs, averaging over 49.00, including 79 centuries, 114 wickets at an average of 36.00 and held 377 catches. In 87 ODIs he scored 1,977 runs, averaging over 39.00. He played 110 Test matches, scoring 7,515 runs (av 46.67), including 19 centuries, 77 sixes, and held 90 catches.

CAREER TIMELINES, AWARDS, ACCOLADES:Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1971; 1964–1983 Guyana/British Guiana; 1968–1986, Lancashire; Windies captain 1974-1985; West Indies cricket Guyana 36-stamp sheet 1985; International Cricket Council Hall of Fame inductee; Lancashire Gillette Cup 1972; Lancashire Testimonial 1977; Lancashire captain 1981; Clive Lloyd Foundation in Guyana; Guyana: Order of Roraima; Australia: Order of Australia; CBE Commander of the British Empire.