Legendary West Indian commentator Tony Cozier has passed away at the age of 75.
Cozier, a familiar and respected cricket writer, commentator and journalist has died in his home country, Barbados, after battling with an illness. He was admitted to hospital on 3 May for tests related to infections in the neck and legs.
Born in Bridgetown in 1940, Cozier started writing on West Indian cricket in 1958. He played cricket for two West Indian clubs, but never played the game professionally.
He edited the West Indies Cricket Annual between 1970 and 1991, and in 1978 wrote the acclaimed book, The West Indies: 50 Years of Test Cricket. In 2011, the MCC awarded him life membership for his services to the game.
It was estimated that Cozier was among the most prolific watchers of Test cricket anywhere. Wisden in 2003 reported that he had watched 266 Tests in his 40-odd years of covering the game up to that point.
In learning of the news, fellow respected cricket journalists expressed their condolences.
‘Tony was the master of going between TV and radio ball-by-ball commentary. He was the master of both,’ said BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew. ‘He’s easily the best I’ve come across in 25 years at being able to do both disciplines.
‘He was one of the finest writers and broadcasters in the game. He started reporting in 1958 and seven years later he hit the airwaves for the first time.
‘Fifty years on, he was still commentating on Test Match Special when England toured the West Indies.
‘Tony moved seamlessly between television and radio boxes throughout the world, gleefully describing the West Indies’ domination of the 1980s and then lamenting their subsequent demise.
‘He was a wonderfully descriptive and disciplined commentator, his melodic Bajan accent the perfect soundtrack to any cricket match.’
‘To say Tony loved cricket would be somewhat shallow,’ said Cricinfo editor-in-chief Sambit Bal. ‘Cricket was his life, and it was a life of great distinction. He cared for the game deeply and absolutely, and his heart bled for West Indian cricket, which he served as a broadcaster, writer and conscience-keeper for five decades. His was the most credible voice from the region and, in the last decade-and-a-half, an anguished one. He gave the game as much as he got from it and it can safely be said that he will be impossible to replace.’
‘Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Tony Cozier today,’ the ICC said on Twitter. ‘One of the truly great voices of cricket. A huge loss for the cricket community.’
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