A good way to honour Clive Lloyd in Guyana
By Rickey Singh
March 31, 2007
HUGE portraits of the legendary Clive Lloyd and another of Guyana's celebrated icon of West Indies cricket, Rohan Kanhai, were on display at the renovated Cheddi Jagan International Airport to welcome teams arriving this past weekend for the 'Super Eight' matches currently being played off at the brand new BDS$50 million Guyana National Stadium at Providence, south of the capital, Georgetown.
On Tuesday, as Sri Lanka and South Africa were preparing for what turned out to be a nail-biting finish in the latter team's favour on Wednesday, one of the world's greatest spin bowlers, Lance Gibbs, another of Guyana's gifts to international cricket, was being honoured in the capital.
Almond Street in Queenstown -- where his famous Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) is located -- was ceremonially renamed "Lance Gibbs Street". Now 72, the great cricketer, who had bagged 300 wickets in his professional career, was there to unveil the plaque in the presence of Prime Minister Samuel Hinds.
For its part, the DCC, a well known fixture in the history of the country's most popular sport, had completed in time for the Guyana segment of CWC 07, a Legends Village and Hall of Fame Museum for public viewing.
The "Hall of Fame Museum" would, inevitably, include the collection of outstanding Guyanese-born cricket stars who had progressed to become captains of the West Indies team -- Rohan Kanhai, Alvin Kallicharran, Clive Lloyd, *Carl Hooper and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Undoubtedly, the greatest of them all, the cricketer whose sterling all-round performances in the game over some three decades, from the 60s to the 90s, before moving into other significant productive roles -- as a coach, manager, and a match referee (for the International Cricket Council), has been and remains Clive Hubert Lloyd. Now 62, he is currently serving as manager of the West Indies team for CWC 07.
I was there when Lloyd returned home to a hero's welcome with all of Guyana in triumphant mood after he had captained the West Indies to the first Cricket World Cup victory in 1975. It was a feat to be repeated by the West Indies under his leadership four years later in 1979 but, regrettably, not since.
As noted in a Cricinfo West Indies Internet report, Clive Lloyd was "the crucial ingredient in the rise of West Indian cricket. A cousin of Lance Gibbs, he was a hard-hitting batsman and one of the most successful captains in history..."
Now, is a very good time for the Guyana Government to go beyond existing relationship with Clive Lloyd as a goodwill ambassador for the country and to appropriately honour him in this memorable year of CWC 07.
That honour should be the naming of the National Stadium after the legendary sportsman.
I feel this gesture would be quite popular across the nation, one to be warmly welcomed by the illustrious cricketer's colleagues at home and abroad.
Antigua and Barbuda has named its new national stadium, built for CWC 07, after the internationally famous "master blaster" -- `Vivian Richards' Cricket Ground’. Jamaica's new multi-purpose stadium at Trelawny is expected to also be appropriately renamed. Why not do the same for Lloyd in Guyana?
President Bharrat Jagdeo, whose personal initiatives have been quite significant in the realisation of the world-class national stadium, with its 15,000 seating capacity, and also the nearby 250-room ultra-modern hotel -- projects that have significantly changed the landscape at Providence and environs -- should not miss the opportunity to use the widespread goodwill he enjoys in so honouring Clive Lloyd.
(This article appeared in yesterday's Barbados Weekend Nation. But, regrettably, the name of *Carl Hooper was inadvertently omitted).