Clive Lloyd’s Living for Cricket
Preserving our literary heritage
By Petamber Persaud
April 1, 2007
LIVING for Cricket is about the life and exploits of Clive Lloyd as an extraordinary cricket all-rounder whose childhood dream was “to play cricket to the highest possible level and to travel the world doing it” - that was his idea of heaven.
That dream of Lloyd became reality at time when the West Indies team was coalescing into world champion and when world cricket was tested on all fronts, surviving modifications, controversies and “glorious uncertainties”.
The dream and reality were the same differing only in the course of making the dream a reality, a process which was enlightening, entertaining and inspirational.
For the reality, we go to the scorecard: 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 the 87 ODIs he played, Lloyd scored 1,977 runs, averaging over 39. 00. He played 110 Test matches, scoring 7,515 runs (av. 46.67), including 19 centuries and held 90 catches.
The dream started in the early 1950s in Queenstown, Georgetown, Guyana, a few years after Clive Hubert Lloyd was born in 1944. Lloyd admitted it was normal then to see “a somewhat gangling youth either wielding an oversized bat made of local wood left-handed or bowling right-handed and hoping to knock over the cardboard box which served as the wicket”.
And he was in good company with his first cousin, Lance Gibbs, Colin Wilshire and Richard Hector. The famous Demerara Cricket Club of which he was a member for “as long as he can remember” was a few doors away and “Robert Christiani lived just up the road…the same Christiani that we had heard radio commentators talk about and we had read about playing for the West Indies in far-off lands”.
He tells how grateful he was for the support he got from Fred Wills and Berkeley Gaskin and others in the early days of his cricket career. A career that almost aborted due to eye problem and lost of his father, the breadwinner of the family. A game he wanted to abandon when he was dropped from the West Indies team in 1973.
Because he was living for cricket, he was able to make many good decisions along the way the first of which was to quit his job at the hospital in order to be included in tour party for India and Sri Lanka, his first Test call of duty. Later, he was involved in the Packer Affair, an event that revolutionised the game – night cricket under lights, artificial pitches, colour clothing and white ball!
On the matter of captaincy, Lloyd took the best of each leader and was cognisant of the ill-advised machination of others. He said while “Sobers was an attacking skipper, always willing to take a chance in an effort to win, Kanhai was cautious and defensive. The perfect skipper, I felt, would have been a blend of the two”.
Lloyd made himself into one of the best captains of the game even though he had little training in that area. But cricket was his life and he was living for cricket and he learned very fast. Also he had a few excellent precedents to follow including Frank Worrell and Jackie Bond of Lancashire where Lloyd spent the happiest days of his cricket career.
Aptly titled, the book, Living for Cricket, deliberately and methodically describe the story of one of the game’s most successful captains - his tears of despair, his shrieks of triumph, his fears of living apart from his family, seeing the hurt of his wife when he was bad-mouthed, dealing with injuries, lost, bad umpiring, bad selection policies and insularity of island peoples. And the writer did not hold back his punches in describing the glory and disrepute of the game.
Living for Cricket is outspoken and also inspirational so much so it can also be read as a manual for success or how not to fail.
Because he was living for cricket, his book was well planned; he was in command of the material he wanted to share.
Living for Cricket is made up of sixteen chapters, starting with, “The Early Days” and moving chronologically to “The Future” revealing the ups and downs of the game, the modifications, and the debates. He gave insight into league cricket – the happiest time of his cricketing career, and World Series Cricket – the need to pay cricketers their just dues so they can perform well.
On numerous occasions, he admitted that money was not a motivating force in his cricket but he was always in the money – good cricket deserves handsome rewards.
He knew the mood of the fans/spectators – and he played them; keeping speech engagements, filling coaching assignments and signing autographs, all part of the game. You couldn’t divorce the fame from the claim and demand of the fan, no crowd no cricket, no crowd no money no cricket.
All that apart, it is chapter fourteen “The Family Man” which is the most poignant and charming to read; the superstar, the “supercat” was a regular human in his relation to his wife, Waveney, and two daughters.
In the final chapter, Lloyd declared, quoting Frank Sinatra, “Regrets I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention”.
So it easy to see why the book should be a must read for anyone who has any aspirations to be somebody.
The book is valuable to sportsmen and sportswomen, in particular, who aspire to get to the top of their game.
Responses to this author telephone (592) 226-0065 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*THE JOURNEY part VIII is set for Wednesday April 4, 2007 at Castellani House. The theme of this evening of literature is ‘this sporting life’ featuring sport and pastimes in literature from around the world including ‘Massa-day done’ by Ian McDonald, ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’ by D. H. Lawrence, ‘Sonny Ramadin’ by Cecil Grey, ‘Seaside Golf’ by John Betjeman, ‘Blasting for Runs’ by Rohan Kanhai, ‘The Draught Players’ by Berkley Semple, ‘Juggler’ by Richard Wilbur and ‘Living for Cricket’ by Clive Lloyd
* Just off the press is the second edition of ‘Bibliography of Guyana and Guyanese Writers’ compiled and edited by Lal Balkaran, ‘The Undiminished Link’ by Victor Waldron, Hansib 2007, and ‘Cricket at Bourda’
* You can now get THE GUYANA ANNUAL 2006/2007 at Universal Bookstore, Austin Book Service, Michael Ford Bookstore, Nigel’s Supermarket, the National Art Gallery, Castellani House, Sandra Goodchild of Guyenterprise Ltd., and from the editor at telephone (592) 226-0065 or email: email@example.com