None other than one of the greatest West Indies batsman, Lawrence George Rowe, has endorsed the 16-man squad selected to represent the West Indies at the 2nd Over 50s World Cup in South Africa during the period March 10th to 24th 2020. The 16-man squad includes several players who represented their respective countries and some who represented the West Indies B team or WI President’s XI.
Two of them, Zamin Amin and Ishwar Maraj, went on to Captain their adopted countries, USA and Canada at the ICC World Cup. The full squad reads: Zamin Amin (Captain), Ishwar Maraj (Vice-Captain), Sudesh Dhaniram, Rajendra Sadeo, Azad Mohammed, Kenny Girdharry, Hafiz Mohamed, Roy Singh, Allison Johnson, Julian Charles, Mark Audain, Imtiaz Ali, Krish Harricharan, Howard Jodhan, Narine Bidhesi and Fareed Hosein. The team will be managed by Raj Singh with Dave Narine as his assistant and John Ramsingh functioning as the media officer.
The team wings out for South Africa from New York on Friday, March 6th. They have two warm up matches on Sunday (8th) against South Africa and on Monday (9th) against India before they face New Zealand in their first official match on Wednesday, March 11th.
Rowe, also known as “Yagga”, was an elegant right-handed batsman described by Michael Holding, his team mate, as “the best batsman I ever saw”. It was felt that his ability was so extraordinary that Gary Sobers believed he could have been the greatest of all West Indian batsmen. At one game Rowe hit a ball so cleanly that it followed a level trajectory like a guided missile over the boundary for six.
Rowe made his debut for Jamaica in 1968–69. He then made history on his Test match debut v New Zealand at Sabina Park, Kingston in 1972, scoring 214 and 100 not out, the first time that a cricketer had scored a double and single century on Test debut. It also gave him a batting average of 314 after his first Test match. In 1974 v England he scored 302 at Kensington Oval in Barbados when he became the 2nd WI to make a triple century and that prestigious club still only has 4 members to this date.
Rowe was a West Indies batting “hero” in the days before Viv Richards. He played 30 Test matches scoring a total of 2,047 runs at an average of 43. He was known to whistle while he batted though he seemed to be injury prone; he suffered problems with his eyesight and was allergic to grass.
He played 30 Tests between 1972 and 1980 and played 11 One Day Internationals. Rowe played for Derbyshire in the English County Championship and also joined World Series Cricket, where he scored 175 in one match for the WSC West Indies XI.
In 1982/83 Rowe, when past his prime, led a rebel tour to South Africa during apartheid when South Africa was isolated from world sport. The West Indian public were outraged by the tour and Rowe himself and others were ostracized in Jamaica. Rowe’s team, which consisted of a lot of discarded West Indies players, gave a great account of themselves against a strong South African team. Such was the might and strength of the West Indies team in that era. Rowe can be seen at several of West Indies matches being played at the Broward Stadium.
During the lunch break of the first Test between West Indies and India on 20 June 2011, Rowe was honored when the Sabina Park stadium was named after him, in a ceremony that also honored Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh. He took the opportunity to apologize on behalf of the rebel West Indian team.
The batting legend took the opportunity to have a brief chat with the WI squad where he offered some words of wisdom to these hungry cricketers. This bunch of cricketers never attained the level that Rowe achieved and soaked up all the advice provided by the maestro especially those tit bits that related to the conditions existing in South Africa where he played for a few seasons. One of the key factors that he emphasized was the need for them to pay close attention to their fitness levels which makes everything else look and feel very easy. Lawrence Rowe generously agreed to act as an ambassador for this first ever West Indies Over 50s team to leave our shores to represent our region at a World Cup.
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