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Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay – Sir Clive Lloyd is born - the man in charge during West Indies' golden era

Clive Lloyd (L) West Indies Team Manager talks to captain Brian Lara (R) in 1999
Clive Lloyd (L) West Indies Team Manager talks to captain Brian Lara (R) in 1999
©Reuters
 

August 31, 1944 - For most of the years during which West Indies dominated world cricket, Clive Lloyd was at the centre of it all, marshalling his troops to a tee.

 

It goes without saying that the likes of Roberts, Marshall, Gardner, Holding and Croft had the ability to roll over any opposition, but there were a couple of incidents which prompted Lloyd to bring them together.

Llyod, who first appeared for West Indies in December 1966, says of his debut: "I'd made a lot of runs in the Shell Shield - the first-class competition in the West Indies - and, in fact, a lot of people thought I would be going to England in 1966, but I wasn't chosen. But by '67 I got to India."

Llyod was ready by that time as he scored 82 and 78 not out in his debut test, adding unbeaten 102 runs with Sir Garry Sobers to pull off a terrific win.

Having been appointed as captain for the India tour of West Indies in 1974-75, Lloyd started well with 163 in the first test at Bangalore - his century coming off just 85 balls. He capped off the series with his test best 242 not out in the 5th test in Mumbai to lay the platform for a series-clinching win for West Indies.

The reality check arrived on the West Indies tour of Australia in 1975-76 when the West Indian batsmen were ravaged by the pace of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thompson as they suffered an embarrassing 5-1 defeat.

 

 

In that series, Lloyd had to curb his attacking instincts and dropped anchor. He succeeded in that role as well against a formidable Australian pace attack, amassing 469 runs at 46.9. But that did little to prevent the humiliating defeat. Lloyd took a leaf out of Australia's book.

In 1976, the West Indian skipper declared the innings at 271/6 at Port of Spain, giving India a target of 403 in the final innings. Windies bowlers Albert Padmore, Raphick Jumadeen and Imtiaz Ali could only pick up two wickets among themselves despite sending down 105 years of spin as India won the match comfortably by 6 wickets.

After the game, Lloyd had a simple question for his spinners in the dressing room - Gentlemen, I gave you 400 runs to bowl at and you couldn't bowl out the opposition. How many runs must I give you from the next time to make sure that you get the wickets?

These two incidents left little doubt in Lloyd's mind that he needed extreme pace to establish West Indies' dominance over world cricket. It was then that the aforementioned quicks came together to terrorize batsmen all across the globe as West Indies' golden era began.

Apart from amassing 7,515 Test runs from that big bat of his at over 45, Lloyd equipped West Indies with the killer instinct under his leadership that mattered the most. Apart from taking West Indies to two World Cup titles in 1975 and 1979 and to the final in 1983, West Indies' reign in test cricket came in his stewardship. 

Lloyd captained the team in 74 of his 110 Tests (the first West Indian to earn 100 Test caps), and led them to a record 26 matches without defeat, which included a "blackwash" of England in 1984. Big C, as he was known as, joined Packer's WSC, but returned to lead the country.

Despite his knees giving up, Lloyd was a force, albeit not as flamboyant, even in the last leg of his career. On his final tours, he averaged 67 in England (1984) as the West Indies completed a famous 5-0 "blackwash", and 50.85 against Australia (1984-85), guiding the team to a 3-1 triumph.

 

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