Friday was a sad day for the local cricket fraternity as two sons of the soil and accomplished former cricketers passed.
Former off-spinner Clyde Butts died in a vehicular accident on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) on Friday, while Joe Solomon passed away in the USA.
As such, there has since been an outpouring of condolences and tributes to the duo who both played at the First-Class and Test levels.
President Dr Irfaan Ali, via his social media platform, shared, “On behalf of the Government and people of Guyana and my own behalf, I extend condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of Joe Solomon and Clyde Butts, two of our outstanding cricketers who passed away yesterday.
Solomon, who effected the run-out to bring about the first tied Test, featuring West Indies and Australia at Brisbane in 1960, played 27 Tests from 1958 to 1965, scoring 1326 runs.
In his seven Tests for the West Indies between 1985 and 1987, Butts picked up 10 wickets.
May their souls rest in peace
Meanwhile, the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) wrote, “The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) is saddened by the passing of former Guyana and West Indies Off-spinner Clyde Butts and sends its regards during this time to the family, friends and entire cricket fraternity.
Butts, who was 66 years old, died on Friday (yesterday) afternoon following a vehicular accident on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD), with details surrounding the unfortunate incident still hazy at the time.
Nicknamed Mr 5-Fer, the spin stalwart played 87 First Class games for Guyana with seven Test appearances for the West Indies between 1985 and 1988. The spinner also won three First-Class titles for his country during his active days,finishing with 380 scalps.
Butts was also Chairman of the West Indies Senior Selection for a few years before focusing more recently on commentary where he was a regular voice during the Regional season.
The GCB sends its regards to the family of the late Mr Butts, as the cricket fraternity mourns one of its fallen comrades.”
In addition, Cricket West Indies shared: “Yesterday, Cricket West Indies (CWI) mourned the loss of two esteemed former Guyana and West Indies cricketers. Joe Solomon, renowned for his exceptional batting prowess in the 1950s and 1960s, passed away at 93. Clyde Butts, the former off-spinner and Guyana Captain in the 1980s, passed away at the age of 66.
CWI President Dr Kishore Shallow paid tribute, saying, “The remarkable contributions of Joe Solomon and Clyde Butts will be remembered not only by those in their native Guyana, but also by many across the West Indies.”
He continued, “Joe Solomon stood among the heroes of West Indies cricket. His iconic play – the pick-up, throw, and run-out of Ian Meckiff in the tied Test – remains an indelible moment in our history. His dedication to the game was evident in mentoring numerous players, showing his commitment to the sport’s development. He was a true servant of the game.”
President Shallow noted, “Clyde Butts, a stalwart figure in West Indies’ First-Class history, displayed extraordinary adeptness as an off-spinner and Captain for Guyana. His legacy extended beyond the field, earning him recognition as a statesman and ambassador for the game in Guyana and the region. In retirement, his unwavering commitment to coaching reflected his dedication. He tirelessly invested hours, nurturing young talent and passionately fostering their development within the sport.”
He further remarked, “He served with distinction as Team Manager for the West Indies Under-19 team. His exceptional leadership as Chairman of Selectors notably resulted in forming the triumphant team that won the 2012 ICC T20 World Cup, a victory that brought immense pride and glory to the people of the West Indies.”
Joseph Stanislaus Solomon played 27 Test matches from 1958 to 1965. His debut in 1958 against India in Kanpur showcased impressive scores of 45 and 86, including a partnership of 163 with Garfield Sobers. He gained fame for his run-out of the last Australian batsman, leading to the famous tied Test in December 1960 at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Clyde Godfrey Butts made his Test debut in 1987 at Bourda Oval and played seven Tests during West Indies’ dominant era. He stood among the leading bowlers in the West Indies First-Class championship in the 1980s, concluding his career with 348 First-Class wickets. After retirement, he served as an administrator, chairing the West Indies Men’s senior selection panel during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup win in 2012 in Sri Lanka under Daren Sammy’s leadership.