By Sean Devers
Eleven days short of his 69th birthday and standing six feet, five inches tall, former West Indies Skipper Clive Lloyd still strikes an imposing figure as he addressed enthusiastic participants of the 13th Cricket Academy organised by the East Coast Cricket Board (ECCB) at the Lusignan Community Centre yesterday.
The left-handed Guyanese who scored 19 tons from 110 Tests and led the West Indies to World Cup titles in 1975 and 1979, told the youngsters, which included females, that a good leader must be stern but approachable and must earn the respect of his players.
“A leader is like a Captain of a ship, he must be the last to get off when the ship sinks. He must be there for his team and protect the members” Lloyd said.
Nick named ‘the Super Cat’ Lloyd also led the regional to a third consecutive World Cup final in 1983 when Kapil Dev’s India stunned the cricketing world with a 43-run upset victory.
The powerful DCC player, who also represented Lancashire in England told the gathering which included TV personality Edwin Seeraj, ECCB President Bisoondyal Singh and former National selector Claude Raphael, that if you want to gain altitude you must have the right attitude during his motivational speech.
Lloyd made 79 centuries and captured 114 wickets from 490 First-Class matches and his record as captain was remarkable, including a run of 26 Tests without defeat, and 11 successive wins after becoming the first West Indian to play 100 Tests.
The former Guyana skipper made his First Class debut in 1963 and played at that level until 1986, a year after playing his final Test match against Australia.
He told the youths when he was a boy he was not afforded the opportunity of being coached and what he learned was by looking at the great players, many times from a tree outside Bourda because he could not afford to pay to get into the ground.
“Now you have TV and Videos and Coaching but you must still work on your own to find remedies for your flaws,” Lloyd said.
Seeraj presented a captivating lecture on the History of Cricket dating back to the inaugural Test match between Australia and England and highlighted the different periods of the highs and the lows of West Indies cricket including the first ever tied Test in 1960.
Seeraj, a former school teacher, interacted wonderfully with the Academy Students and handed out a document on the history of cricket and advised the youths to do their own research on cricket.
Seeraj told those present the unsuccessful tour of Australia in 1976 just after their World Cup success, proved to be a major turning point in West Indian cricket.
Seeraj informed that after losing 5-1 against the menacing pace of Jeff Thompson and Dennis Lillie Lloyd decided to adopt the intimidatory tactics of the Australians and stack his team with fast bowlers.
“Some may say his job as captain was fairly straightforward: with a battery of fast bowlers including Roberts, Marshall, Garner, Holding and Croft at his command, and batsmen of the calibre of Greenidge, Haynes and Richards, he certainly had some handy players to call upon” Seeraj explained.
But he instilled his talented side with the professionalism and determination to win consistently and when the conditions suited the opposition. He united the disparate threads of the separate nations that make up the West Indies, and was the force that ‘gelled’ them as a team rather than a bunch of talented individuals, Seeraj said of Lloyd.
After the lectures Coach Latchman Yadram took the youngsters through a physical exercise session.
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