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The Man Who Led West Indies to Top of World Cricket

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Sir Clive Lloyd is widely known as one of the finest batsmen to ever walk on a cricket field. Lloyd, who usually had a cool and composed demeanour off the field, was known for his aggressive and destructive batting style. The most successful, respected as well as most criticized captain of the West Indies cricket team, Lloyd was born on August 31, 1944.

Lloyd’s six feet and three-inch height further enhanced his image in intimidating the opposition bowlers during his heydays. He is the man that put West Indies on the world map after guiding them to two back to back World Cup triumphs. He played 110 Test matches for West Indies, 74 of them as their skipper. He also guided them to their 27-game unbeaten streak, including their “blackwash” of England in 1984.

Lloyd is credited for transforming the West Indies team from a bunch of talented yet inconsistent unit to ruthless machineries. And, to do so, he created the most fearsome bowling unit the world cricket has ever seen. The batsmen of other teams were often left bruised and battered after facing the bowling unit of West Indies in the 1980s.

Lloyd was already an institution when he played the 100th Test match of his career at Sabina Park, Jamaica. However, the recognition from the West Indies Cricket Board meant a lot to him.

Lloyd hails from Guyana and his father was a chauffeur to a local doctor and had no interest in cricket. However, his mother followed the game. At the age of 15, Lloyd was forced to work at Georgetown hospital, yet the ace cricketer made time to add cricket to his packed daily routine.

He scored just 12 runs when he played for the first time Demerara at Bourda and many wrote him off as a cricketer but he survived every odd thrown in his way to become one of the most decorated cricketers of all time.

Lloyd’s start in First-Class cricket was also average as he did not score many runs in his first two outings. In the third match, he was removed for a duck in the first innings. However, he came back to score a gritty 107 run knock in the second innings as Guyana lost the match to Barbados by four wickets. He followed it up with a blistering 194 against Jamaica and still, he was named in the West Indies squad for their 1966 tour.

He made his Test debut during the West Indies tour of India in 1966-67. He was also fielded in their first game and struck a scintillating 82 runs knock in less than two hours after the visitors were reeling at 82/3. He also remained unbeaten on 78 in the second innings as West Indies won the match by six wickets. And just like that, the greatest West Indies player announced his arrival in world cricket.

And, today, as Lloyd celebrate his 77th birthday; here we take a look at few memorable moments from his career:

1. In his very first Test match against Australia, Lloyd dismissed the likes of Ian Chappell and Bill Lawry.

2. Lloyd was named West Indies skipper in 1973 after Garry Sobers was ruled out from West Indies vs Australia Test series. Interestingly, at that time, Lloyd was not even included in West Indies’ squad and was playing club cricket Down Under. In fact, Forbes Burnham, then Guyanese Prime Minister, personally called his Australian counterpart Gough Whitlam to get Lloyd released from his club commitment and join the national team.

3. In 1977, Lloyd resigned from his captaincy after Deryck Murray was removed as vice-captain for signing with Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket

4. Lloyd was presented with the Order of Roraima, the second-highest award in Guyana, before his 100th Test match.

5. He was also awarded Chaconia Medal Class One: Gold by the Trinidad Government.

6. Lloyd is a recipient of honorary degrees from the Universities of Manchester and Hull.

7. He guided West Indies to the 1975 and 1979 World cup titles.

8. Under Lloyd’s captaincy, West Indies reached its third World Cup final in 1983, where they lost to India.

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