Honouring an icon
He has been described as the Garry Sobers of cricket journalists.
His voice has been deemed iconic, frank, honest and passionate and one that will be greatly missed from the airwaves around the cricketing world.
This was the consensus from members of the cricketing community on Wednesday on the passing of veteran commentator and journalist Tony Cozier.
Cozier died Wednesday at the Bayview Hospital after battling cancer for some time.
New chairman of the Barbados Cricket Association Noel Lynch said the association was saddened by his passing and he would be missed greatly.
“He was, in my opinion, the conscience of cricket in the region. He spoke his mind. He will be missed. You need pillars and legends like Tony Cozier to be a part of the game, giving their honest responses and also doing it in a way that ferments the development of the game. His will be a voice that we will miss. A great loss for all of us,” he said.
Lynch recounted the last time he say Cozier, at the BCA’s award ceremony held last month, and said he would always remember his deep love for cricket.
“To say that Tony Cozier loved cricket would be an understatement. I think Tony Cozier lived for cricket. And for over five decades his voice was the most credible voice about the development of cricket particularly West Indies cricket. I know in recent time during the period that was a period of demise for West Indies cricket, that he might have felt it a lot more than people who actually played the game at the highest level,” Lynch added.
Head of cricket at the BCA, Steven Leslie, remembered Cozier for his informed opinion on all things cricket and his dedication to his club, Wanderers.
“It is indeed a huge loss to West Indies cricket and the international arena to hear of the passing of Tony Cozier. That voice would have been able to bring important information to West Indians all around the world. Tony’s contribution would have extended beyond what he did as a commentator. I extend condolences to his family,” he said sadly.
Chairman of Wanderers Cricket Club Andrew Hart described Cozier as being brilliant with his pen and with the microphone. He too said Cozier would be deeply missed.
“When I joined the Wanderers Club in 1983, I met the man himself. He was easily approachable, always ready to tell a story, share an anecdote and have a laugh. I became one of a group of close sporting friends with his son Craig, and we were frequent visitors to their home in Rockley New Road. We all shared a passion for cricket, for hockey, and for sport. We were that next generation of Wanderers men,” Hart recalled.
At the club, Cozier was not only known for his wise words and advice, but also for his many jokes about his exploits around the world while he travelled.
“Even though he spent a great deal of time travelling with his work, Tony would always find time to regularly visit Wanderers when in the island. Once there, the stories of faraway exploits would entertain all who were present.
Even in his advancing years of most recent times, any event that was celebrated at Wanderers, be it a fellow member enjoying international success, or the 2nd division cricket team winning a cup, Tony would be invited. Inevitably the microphone would end up in his hand, and words would flow with great eloquence and ease, he had that gift,” Hart said.
He added Cozier would be greatly missed at the club but his life would be celebrated appropriately.
Head coach of the club, Rickey Clarke, echoed Hart’s sentiments saying Cozier was a great inspiration and would be missed.
“He was the type of person who saw the need to retain the values and concepts of the game in the Caribbean. To me personally, he was a great inspiration. To us he will be greatly missed. Just weeks ago, he was addressing the BCA. It just gives you a magnitude of the type of colossal thinking he had, his views for the sport, and cricket in general, was what it was all about. At the club, he was a great inspiration for fun; always trying to keep that camaraderie going amongst the entire team. We will miss him. He left quite a lot of nice comments at the BCA when he gave his speech,” Clarke said.
Kraigg Braithwaite, West Indies cricketer and member of Wanderers, said he was quite saddened to hear of the passing of Cozier. He said the last words he had from him were at the BCA awards last month during his speech and he would forever remember them.
“Quite sad to hear the news. He was a well-respected person here at Wanderers cricket club and around the world. My condolences to family and friends.”
Member of the groundstaff at Kensington Oval Peter Douglas said he was glad to have met Cozier when he frequented the Oval and he would always remember him for the professional journalist he was.
“Through working with the ground staff we came into contact a few times. He was there for the evolving of West Indies cricket. I think in a sense he brought West Indies cricket into the main stream, and projected it to the international media and that was at a very transitional period for Barbados and the Caribbean. His passing is a great loss to Caribbean journalism and to Caribbean cricket,” Douglas added.