Winston Anthony Lloyd “Tony” Cozier (July 10, 1940 – May 11, 2016) was a cricket writer and commentator on West Indian cricket from 1958 until his death. Cozier was described as having an “encyclopaedic” knowledge of cricket.
Cozier was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, and studied journalism at Carleton University, Ottawa. He began his reporting career in 1958. He played hockey as a goalkeeper for Barbados and cricket as a batsman and wicket-keeper for two local Barbados clubs.
Cozier’s first Test Match commentary on radio was on West Indies v Australia in 1965. He was a member of the BBC’s Test Match Special commentary team and also commentated for Channel Nine in Australia, and Sky Sports.
In 1994, Cozier wrote of Brian Lara’s record-breaking innings that “there was no real surprise among his countrymen, simply the feeling
that his inevitable date with destiny had arrived rather more suddenly than expected.
Tony had been admitted to hospital in his native Barbados on May 3 for tests related to infections in the neck and legs and died on May 11, at the age of 75. Cozier is survived by his wife Jillian, his daughter Natalie and his son Craig.
As news of his death spread around much like his captivating voice tributes began to pour in from persons whose lives this journalistic icon has touched.
Chetram Singh, Former President of Guyana Cricket Board and Director of the West Indies Cricket Board
“I was very saddened yesterday when I heard that Tony Cozier passed away, although I knew he was not well for a good time but you know when death comes, you always feel bad about it. I have known Tony for a long time; in my stint in the Guyana and West Indies Cricket Boards we have crossed paths several times and I have known Tony to be a very knowledgeable people.
He loved West Indies Cricket, in fact West Indies Cricket was everything to him, and his comments were always respected by people and not only respected by me because I knew whatever he said, he was well aware of what he was saying.
He for me, was the face and voice of West Indies cricket throughout the world, cricketers and officials go and come but Tony was always there.
He is a great loss to West Indies Cricket and in my view there is no replacement for the Tony Cozier in the Caribbean, some may be better in one field but as an all-round journalist, I think Tony was the best we have ever seen and also the best we will ever have.”
Ramnaresh Sarwan, Former West Indies Captain
“His passing came to me as a shock! I think over the years he has been known to be the voice of West Indies cricket in terms of when doing his commentary, I could remember since I was 15 years old, playing for West Indies under-19, he was writing his stories and doing radio commentary.
As I grew and played for the senior West Indies, he was always there to encourage us, especially when we not doing well because he knew the difficulties we were facing as players and of course we were not performing the way we should.
At no point in time was he negative towards us in anyway, he was always there to help and support us in the best way he could.”
Roger Harper, Former West Indies Off-spinner and Coach and current Coach of the Guyana Amazon Warriors
“Tony Cozier was the voice of West Indies cricket for several decades. From the days of my first interest in the game of cricket, Tony Cozier’s was the voice I heard. During the days when radio commentary was all we had, Tony Cozier’s voice was our TV screen. He had the descriptive ability to put you right there in the middle of the action in any environment, whether West Indies was playing a test match in India, Australia, England or in the Caribbean, Tony Cozier put you the listener right there.
His love of cricket, his passion, skill and professionalism won him the respect of his peers and the fans worldwide. In the eighties he took delight in telling the world that West Indies were the best. He helped to make the game of cricket so much better just because he was involved. Tony Cozier may have passed but rest assured that his legacy will live on.
On behalf of my wife and family, I would like to extend sincere condolences to his wife and family, and the entire cricketing fraternity. May his soul rest in peace and rise in glory.”
Omar Khan, Former West Indies Team Manager and current team Manager of the Guyana Amazon Warriors
“Tony Cozier loved and worshipped West Indies Cricket and as such wrote and spoke about it fearlessly. He was by a long distance the best writer of West Indies Cricket in this era.
Tony Cozier knew the game of Cricket, he was very analytical and knew all the statistics of West Indies Cricket.
As a little boy growing up I used to listen to cricket on a small transistor radio -since that was the only method of following the cricket – and I followed all West Indies tours and home matches and I always looked forward to listening to Tony when he came on to commentate since in addition to his commentary on the field of play he used to describe the ground conditions and the venue so beautifully that you got a
picture in your mind of the ground by just listening to him.
I remembered, as Manager of the West Indies, him covering the West Indies tours of New Zealand in 2008/2009 and England in 2009 and he would always come to me and discuss the game situation at the end of each day’s play and will always gave his insights and be objective about the players performance.
He was a real joy to talk to about cricket. I really consider it a great privilege and honour to have had the pleasure to know him and to follow his voice and writing of West Indies Cricket.”
Inderjeet Persaud, Guyanese International Cricket Commentator
“Tony Cozier was world renowned. He was a complete package as a cricket commentator and an excellent writer on cricket. His voice, rhythm and the use of the English language captivated and thrilled millions across the cricketing landscape. No one ever turned off their radio when Tony was on. I was fortunate to spend one week in 2004 with Tony in Jamaica. We were on the same assignment covering the Red Stripe Bowl semi-finals and final that year. There were so many great lessons I learnt from him during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tony was always humble and a simple human being. He had a unique voice and was always humerous.
West Indies have truly lost a patriot. His death is like an eclipse at high noon. Young commentators like myself, will do well to take at least one page out of his life’s contribution to the great sport – cricket. Tony will definitely be missed.”
Sean Devers, Guyanese International Cricket Commentator
“I fell in love with cricket commentary as a nine-year old from listening to a small transistor radio hidden under my pillow in the wee hours of the mornings when Cozier and “Reds” (Joseph Pereira) described the action from Australia. It was a great honour when much later I was privileged to meet my icon and work with him in the commentary booth and to listen to his advice. I unconsciously pattered my cricket writings after him. If had three words to describe Cozier; professional, informative and compassionate. My one lasting memory of the great man had nothing to do with cricket. When I had to do a brain surgery in 2012, Cozier organised a telethon to raise funds on a Barbados Radio station. Reds and Andrew Mason were the others involved and that act helped me to be here today instead of dead. My condolences to his son Craig and his relatives and May his soul rest in peace. He will be greatly missed by the West Indian cricket media.”
Colin Benjamin, Cricinfo Correspondent
“In remembering the great Tony Cozier, My biggest regret is never being able to meet him more often face to face despite having numerous conversations with him via phone & email in the past 2 years. First time we met was at 2011 Caribbean T20, then again at 2012 Windies vs Australia test in Trinidad. But it was after 2014 India tour pull out when out talking relationship blossomed as the drama with West Indies cricket escalated It’s a shame that Caribbean listeners were denied listening to his iconic voice more often on television in the past two years – because the WICB leadership
shamefully terminated his contract over claims that his eyesight was poor when it wasn’t This should not be forgotten and its disgraceful that a man who gave so much to Windies cricket more than all board members combined – in one of his last acts had to sue the WICB president for the aforementioned defamation. For someone so legendary in the cricket media world history – on par with other great broadcasters & writers like CLR James, Neville Cardus, Richie Benaud, John Arlott & Bill Johnston – as a young man in the media he spoke to me like if I was his peer – to my shock. There was not an arrogant bone in his body & was easily the most humble and easy going