|Full name:||Colin Everton Hunte Croft|
|Born:||15 Mar 1953, Lancaster Village, East Coast Demerara, Guyana|
|Teams:||Guyana U19 (2in: 1970-1972); Demerara (FC: 1975-1981); Guyana (FC: 1972-1982); Guyana (ListA: 1976-1982); West Indies (Test: 1976/77-1981/82); West Indies (ODI: 1976/77-1981/82); Lancashire (FC: 1977-1982); Lancashire (ListA: 1977-1982); All teams|
|School:||Central High School, Georgetown|
|Lancashire cap: 1982|
|Lists of matches and more detailed statistics|
Colin Croft, the fourth and last child Sylvia Celestine, attended Lancaster Primary School in Demerara, where he was a wicket-keeper in cricket and goalkeeper in soccer.
He developed a reputation as a fearsome fast bowler right from his early days of playing for his high school, Central High, in Georgetown. Hailing from the Unity-Lancaster area of Mahaica District, his family took up residence in a Georgetown neighbourhood with a reputation for being tough. This must have had some influence on his cricketing career in later life.
After an uneventful beginning in regional schoolboy cricket in 1970 and 1971, Croft was thrown to the wolves in his first class debut for Guyana in 1972, in a famous encounter with Jamaica, against a batting line-up that included Lawrence Rowe and Maurice Foster. Though quite quick, the Jamaica batsmen scored heavily off the inexperienced fast bowler.
Later in 1972 Croft participated in a three-month cricket training program with Warwickshire County, with help from fellow Guyanese Lance Gibbs, who was playing for Warwickshire at the time.
In 1973 Croft became an Assistant Air Traffic Controller in Guyana and was absent from cricket until 1974, when he went to Trinidad on a navigation scholarship. He joined Paragon Sports Club, where his love for cricket was rekindled with such intensity that he was representing Guyana again in regional first class cricket, in 1975.
Consistent performances in regional cricket earned him a place in the President's XI against Pakistan in St Lucia in 1977 and he seized his opportunity with both hands, taking 10 wickets in the match.
Along with 'Big Bird' Joel Garner, Colin Croft made his Test debut at Kensington Oval in Barbados, against Pakistan on 18 February 1977. Croft took 7 wickets but his second Test, at Queen's Park Oval, brought even greater rewards. Bowling fast leg-cutters Croft took 8 wickets for 29 runs in Pakistan's first innings - the best ever figures for a West Indies fast bowler. In addition, he caused Sadiq Mohammed to retire hurt on 0, after which wickets tumbled quickly.
Croft joined English county Lancashire soon after his Test debut but his Test career was interrupted briefly, from early 1978 to late 1979. During this time he represented World Series Cricket West Indies, which was formed by Australian TV tycoon Kerry Packer after a dispute with the Australian Cricket Board.
He formed a fearsome four-pronged attack with Garner, Holding and Roberts for the West Indies, who won the World Cup in 1979. From 1980 to 1982 Croft was rated the No 1 bowler in the world.
Occasionally his volatility and enthusiasm for the bouncer got him into trouble, most notably when he kept the local hospital busy while bowling for Guyana against the Australians in 1978, and again two winters later during an acrimonious tour of New Zealand, when he failed to veer out in his run and flattened the umpire Fred Goodall who had annoyed him.
In 1982 Croft joined a rebel West Indies XI tour of apartheid South Africa, in violation of an international ban. All the West Indies players who took part in the tour were banned for life from international cricket, which ended Croft's cricket career for Guyana and the West Indies. That ban was effectively lifted in 1989, by both the WICB and the United Nations.
In a relatively brief Test career lasting just five years, Croft established a reputation as one of the most feared fast bowlers around, with apparently no qualms about inflicting pain on batsmen.
In 1992 he returned to Trinidad with a Commercial Pilot’s License, Teacher’s Certificate, and Mechanical Engineering degree, and worked for Air Caribbean and Mustique Airways.
Starting in 1994, Croft has been a cricket commentator/analyst, covering West Indies tours and writing extensively for Cricinfo. His first cricket assignment in England was In 1995. During the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup he provided analysis for the BBC's Test Match Special radio coverage on all the Guyana-based matches. He continued his analyst's role during the West Indies tour of England the same year.
In his private life, having been an Air Traffic Controller from 1973 to 1981 while playing for the West Indies, he obtained a Commercial Airline Pilot's licence in the USA, with endorsements for the UK, and worked as a Commercial Pilot in the Caribbean. He also regularly appears as a studio guest on Sky Sports when West Indies are playing.
Croft taught maths at Commenius Moravian School in Guyana in 1971, and at Lambrook school in Winkfield Row, Berkshire, UK from 2007-2008 for one and a half terms. He never coached cricket at the school but frequently gave autographs to parents of pupils at the school. (Parts of the above based on a Wikipedia article.)