West Indies most successful captain is Clive Hubert Lloyd
As the Cricket and Independence feature reaches the closing phase today we zoom in on the only West Indian Captain to win a 50-Over World Cup tournament, Clive Lloyd. And for good measure he did it twice.
Lloyd rose quickly through the ranks of youth cricket in his native Guyana, appearing regularly for the powerful Demerara team, who had previously enjoyed the services of his illustrious cousin, Lance Gibbs. He played for the national side in 1964 but was dropped after an indifferent game against Jamaica and failed to distinguish himself against the touring Australians the following year.
It seemed Lloyd might struggle to establish himself in top-class cricket when he was dismissed by Sobers for a duck in his first Shell Shield innings, against
Barbados in 1966. But a second innings century against the bowling of Sobers and Charlie Griffith allayed any doubts, while 194 against Jamaica in the next match at Kingston, confirmed his potential.
He was selected to tour India in 1996-7, and immediately proved his worth with 82 and 78 not out in his first Test at Bombay, sharing in a match-winning
century stand with Sobers in the second innings; and followed that up with hundreds against the Prime Minister’s XI in Delhi and Cleyton
Lloyd was one of the star batsmen when England visited the Caribbean in 1967-8, hitting timely centuries in the Tests at Port of Spain and Bridgetown in what turned out to be a trying series for the hosts. He began well in Australia in 1968-9, scoring a hundred in the opening Test at Brisbane before his form dipped with the rest of the side.
He lifted himself in the short series in England in 1969 – the first year he appeared for Lancashire – scoring a rapid 70 in the Lord’s Test and an exhilarating double century against Glamorgan at Swansea.
The retirement of Butcher and Nurse put the batting spotlight on Lloyd, something he did not appear to relish as he struggled to repeat his overseas success in three consecutive home series. Indeed, his undistinguished showing against the New Zealanders in 1972 meant that his inclusion to meet the touring Australians the following year was widely criticised.
But Lloyd answered the critics when he slammed 178 – with one six and 24 fours – on his home ground in the fourth Test in Georgetown, adding a record 187 for the fourth wicket with his compatriot Kanhai.
Lloyd confirmed his revival with a vintage summer in England in 1973, averaging over 60 in the three-match Test series. Indeed, he has always thrived in England and was a central figure in Lancashire’s renaissance in the early 1970s, including helping them to win the Gillette Cup four times in the first half of the decade, as he collected a record eight man-of-the-match awards. He was appointed captain of the county in 1981.
Despite his usual success against England, fate did not smile on him when they visited the Caribbean in 1973-4 but, nonetheless, he was appointed captain for the trip to India and Pakistan later that year.
The responsibility seemed to bring added consistency to his batting, as he made 14 of his 19 Test hundreds as skipper. His first came in the first Test at Bangalore, as he crashed 163 runs, sharing a double-century stand with Greenidge for the fourth wicket. He completed a superb series with a career-best 242 not out in the final match at Bombay, sharing in another double-century stand, this time with Deryck Murray.
Altogether, Lloyd scored 636 runs (79.50) in the series, which was decisive in helping West Indies to win the rubber as, in two Tests they lost, Lloyd failed with the bat.
He was in match-winning form in the first World Cup final in 1975, as his century secured the trophy for the West Indies; but he faced a far stiffer test against the same opponents, Australia, over an extended period `Down Under’ in 1975-6.
Despite enduring a drubbing at the hands of their hosts, Lloyd excelled with the bat, hammering 149 in the second Test at Perth and 102 and 91 not out in the two matches played in Melbourne, to make him the most successful touring batsman.
And, despite the intense disappointment felt at the time, Lloyd had learnt a vital lesson in Australia: catches win matches, but so do fast bowlers. By the time India toured the Caribbean in 1975-6, Roberts and Holding, supported by Julien, provided Lloyd with a penetrating pace attack. This, together with the batting, including Lloyd’s 19th Test hundred in his 50th Test in the opening match at Bridgetown, overwhelmed the tourists, despite an unexpected win in the final Test in Trinidad, after Lloyd had misjudged the declaration.
Lloyd’s pace bowlers – now joined by Daniel and Holder – enjoyed unprecedented success in England later that year and, on the only occasion that the batting faltered, in the first innings of the Lord’s Test, Lloyd lifted them with 50, and then crashed another half-century off the demoralised English attack in the final match at The Oval.
Altogether, he scored over 1 000 first-class runs on that tour, including another unbeaten double-century off Glamorgan, this time in just two hours, to equal the record for the fastest double hundred in first-class cricket.
Lloyd scored an impressive century against the touring Pakistanis in the first Test at Bridgetown in 1977; and continued in this rich vein against the Australians the following year, before pulling out of the rubber to join Kerry Packer’s world series cricket.
It was a significant step; for this was the first time that an incumbent West Indies captain had resigned and there was no guarantee he would ever play Test cricket again, far less be re-appointed to the captaincy.
However, his gifts as a batsman and captain were such that when the rift had healed, he was the natural choice to take over again. He confirmed the wisdom of his re-appointment, leading West Indies to success in the 1979 World Cup and then secured their first series win in Australia immediately afterwards.
The success of the West Indies continued unabated. They predictably overwhelmed England in 1980, as the Guyanese lifted his team with 101 not out in front of his adopted `home’ crowd in the third Test at Old Trafford. Lloyd never scored less than 50 in the return rubber in the Caribbean. His series average of 76 was almost 100 short of his Shield average of 172.50 for that year.
Then he hit a match-winning 77 not-out in the third Test against Australia in the short series of 1981-2, to level the series and end premature talk of West Indies tumble from the top of world cricket.
During these years, however, Lloyd’s success was not all at international level and in 1983 he led Guyana to a unique double success in the Shell Shield and Geddes Grant-Harrison Line Trophy, before returning to the international arena to hit two hundreds against the touring Indians, and ease West Indies to a 2-0 victory in the series.
Known as the `Super Cat’ for his feline prowess in the covers, Lloyd and his team then enacted a savage revenge over the Indians in India after they had been defeated by them in the World Cup in mid-summer – an event Lloyd rates as his biggest disappointment.
Like injured lions, the West Indies stalked their prey, winning the one-day series 5-0 and the Test series 3-0, as Lloyd topped the batting averages in the Tests with 82.66, helped by another two centuries.
The West Indies machine seemed unstoppable: they defeated Australia decisively in the Caribbean at the beginning of 1984 and romped to their third successive victory in England, as they defeated the home country five matches to nil later that year.
Then came Lloyd’s opportunity to set the record straight in Australia after his team’s mauling almost a decade earlier. The Guyanese left nothing to chance, thrashing 114 runs in the second Test at Brisbane to give his side a 2-0 lead in the five-match series; he scored 78 at Adelaide and wrapped up a gratifying campaign with a masterful 72 on a difficult wicket at Sydney.
In recognition of his services to cricket, Lloyd was awarded the Order of Australia at the end of that tour, and also received the second highest honour in his native Guyana, the Order of Roraima.
Now, at last, having completed a record-breaking 11 consecutive Test victories with the win in the third match at Adelaide, Lloyd could retire a satisfied man. So, what was the secret of his success, Joel Garner, one of Lloyd’s regular match-winners, argued that “Worrell inspired his men, Sobers led mainly by example and Lloyd combined the best features of both.”
That is probably an accurate assessment of his approach, but Lloyd himself revealed perhaps the most crucial ingredient when he wrote, just before his retirement, “the most important requirement for a successful captain is respect. I have been fortunate that my players have respected me as a man and a cricketer and consequently as a skipper.” (Guyana Chronicle, April 1999).
In 2011, Lloyd was retained by the Government of Guyana to head the Interim Management Committee, which was installed by the Guyana government to replace the Guyana Cricket Board for a limited time. The Guyana Cricket Board was in the midst of an administrative crisis, caused in part by suspect elections of its executive officers.