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‘A benchmark for sports journalists’

Published: 
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Tributes pour in for Tony Cozier
Tony Cozier, back right, with Test Match Special commentary crew at Lords's in 2007. Jonathan Agnew and Bill Frindal are seated while Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Colin Croft join Cozier at the back.

Members of the T&T and West Indies cricket fraternity remembered legendary cricket commentator and journalist Tony Cozier as an icon of the game, following his passing yesterday in his native Barbados at age 75.

Cozier was the voice of West Indies cricket, and along with Guyanese Reds Perreira toured the world with West Indies, holding their own among the world’s top cricket commentators. Cozier’s journey as a cricket analyst spanned almost six decades, after beginning his career in 1958.

Former West Indies wicketkeeper Deryck Murray reflected on Cozier’s life. Murray said, “For his entire career he was an excellent commentator but also an outstanding journalist and analyst not just regionally but internationally. He left a benchmark for future journalists to follow. He had a good innings and I express my deepest sympathy to his wife and family.”

Murray added that Cozier led the path for other regional commentators such as Ian Bishop and Michael Holding, two former West Indies cricketers now making a name for themselves as commentators around the world. “They are building their careers, maybe they could surpass Cozier. He (Cozier) and Reds Pereira were the pioneers of cricket commentary in the Caribbean.” 

Murray said Cozier began commentating when it was difficult to travel around the world to cover cricket but he found a way.

Murray believes that Cozier can be compared to other legendary cricket commentators such as Englishman John Arlott and Australian Richie Benaud. “He stands very high in that hierarchy, he has made his mark. Tony deserves to be talked about in the company of those commentators.”

Other former West Indies cricketers Gus Logie and David Williams said Cozier was an icon. Logie explained, “I remember the early days in Australia, he and Pereira were the only ones around covering West Indies cricket. You were comfortable with the fact that they would bring the right perspective on West Indies cricket.

“His knowledge of the game was incredible. We should not only give players the icon status.” 

Logie, coach of the T&T Red Force, also believes Cozier paved the way for other Caribbean commentators to have a voice. “He has been a pioneer in that regard setting the way for others. I send condolences to his family.” 

Logie also remembered the moments he shared with Cozier when the West Indies was touring Australia at Christmas time. 

Former wicketkeeper Williams said Cozier played a major role when he was recalled to the West Indies team. Williams said, “He wrote a strong article about me returning to the West Indies team in 1997. He was instrumental in me getting back into the team.” Williams said Cozier was knowledgeable about the game. “I remember him talking to me about wicketkeeping. He knew about everything. We have lost a great icon, a stalwart in West Indies cricket as a writer, administrator and coach. He was always willing to encourage and give advice. He was a very factual person.” Williams said it is difficult to compare commentators but Cozier used his attributes to resounding effect. “He had his own style. It is very difficult to compare commentators but he had his own attributes.”

Former West Indies manager Omar Khan also reflected fondly on the life of Cozier. “He has done great service to West Indies cricket. He was comprehensive and objective. We should take a page out of his book. Cozier was very analytical and willing to give advice to administrators and players. Young journalists need to follow him. He always ensured he got the facts to write a good story.”

Khan added, “Since I started in cricket I have seen him as the best commentator in the Caribbean. I remember listening to him as a boy on the radio and you felt proud to know a West Indian was on the radio.” 

Khan said at the 2010 Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand, Cozier encouraged the team to visit Sam Guillen. Khan, who was the manager of the West Indies U-19 team, said Cozier told the team it was important for the West Indies youngsters to meet Guillen, a man who played Test cricket for both West Indies and New Zealand. 

What they say

Dwayne DJ Bravo

What a sad day for cricket, especially WI cricket, and the fans. Gone but you will never be forgotten. 

Dale Steyn

His voice will echo in my mind forever! Condolences to the Cozier family. 

Darren Sammy

Condolences go out to the families and friends. That voice will forever be in my head.

Graeme Swann

He was one of the finest the commentary box has ever been blessed with and a good friend. RIP.

Sambit Bal

To say Cozier loved cricket would be shallow: it was his life. He gave to the game as much as he got from it.

Harsha Bhogle

Go well Tony Cozier. You adorned our game. You loved it like a child and a parent. You had respect. You had dignity. And you had love.

Michael Vaughan

So so Sad. Forget all the great players. Tony Cozier was the reason I loved West Indian cricket. 

Sanjay Manjrekar

Deeply saddened that one of my favourite person in the world of cricket media has passed away. 

Jonathan Agnew

Desperate to report the passing of great family friend, Tony Cozier. Not enough room here to pay sufficient tribute. Will miss him hugely.

Tom Moody

So shocked and saddened by the news, a wonderful man and distinguished broadcaster. #RIP.

Mike Selvey 

So sorry to hear the great Tony Cozier has passed away. Peerless commentator and observer of the game. Much missed. Love to family. 

England's Barmy Army 

Does anyone love and cherish cricket as much as Tony Cozier did? We doubt it. Rest in peace Tony, the true voice of West Indies cricket.

Ramiz Raja

Tony Cozier RIP made eras and players memorable thru his great commentary Kerry Packer, C Lloyds destructive Windies VIV and Malcolm. 

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