Sobers hails Cozier as simply irreplaceable
Sir Garfield Sobers has paid tribute to legendary commentator Tony Cozier, who died this week at the age of 75.
“Tony Cozier is one of cricket's legends,” said West Indian Sobers, one of the greatest to have played the game.
“Even though he did not make his contribution from the field of play, his outstanding life-long involvement in the game has certainly enriched, not only West Indies cricket but the game as it is now played worldwide. From the viewpoint of West Indies cricket he stands alone.”
Cozier, also from Barbados, was a broadcaster and writer for over 50 years, covering the West Indies in Test matches both home and abroad.
“His contribution from the commentary boxes around the world brought to West Indians everywhere, the true story of what was happening to their cricketers, wherever they played, no matter how far away from home and no matter how difficult the circumstances,' Sobers said.
“His newspaper columns and his magazines were just as eagerly sought by an eager public.
“In the dark days as well as in the days of glory, Tony's commentaries were the same, unvarnished, to the point and always beneficial to the game. I can say that, having shared the box with him on occasion.
“As commentators go, no one else would have had the insights which he had of West Indies cricket, virtually from his childhood.”
Sobers added: “I am saddened by his passing for it will leave a void that will be difficult, if not impossible, to fill. I offer my sincerest condolences to Jillian, Natalie, Craig and his wider family circle as well as to his club, the Wanderers, as I remind them that Tony has left ‘indelible footprints in the sands of time'.”
Both the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players' Association paid tribute to Cozier this week upon hearing of his passing.
“The executive and members of the West Indies Players' Association would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of esteemed cricket journalist Winston Anthony Cozier,” the WIPA said.
“Mr Cozier was considered by many the voice of Caribbean cricket. He commentated on almost every West Indies series since 1962. He was renowned for his knowledge of cricket history and statistics.
“Mr Cozier worked in radio and television all around the world, and wrote numerous articles about cricket.”
Cozier continued having articles published with one as recent as last week, mere days before his passing. He was a pioneer in his field, at the beginning of his career he was usually the only West Indian on the commentary team.
He was the author of The West Indies: 50 Years of Test Cricket, he also received the honour of having the press box at the Kensington Oval in Barbados re-named for him. In 2011, for his contributions to the game the Marylebone Cricket Club named him an Honorary Life member.
The West Indies Cricket Board wrote in a statement this week: “The lifelong work of Tony Cozier centred around West Indies cricket and he made a lasting contribution to the game.
“He ensured that West Indies cricket fans all around the world received information and knowledge about their beloved team and their favourite players.
“His life was dedicated to the game in the Caribbean and we salute him for his outstanding work.
“He was not just a great journalist, but also a great ambassador. He represented West Indies wherever he went.
“He educated people around the world about our cricket, our people, our culture and who we are. His voice was strong and echoed around the cricket world.
“He enjoyed West Indies victories and shared the pain when we lost. He gave a lifetime of dedicated service and will be remembered by all who came into contact with him.
“On behalf of the WICB and the various stakeholders in West Indies cricket we offer sincere condolences to his wife Jillian, his son Craig, his daughter Natalie, his grandchildren and other family and friends.”
Cozier was a member of the Wanderers Cricket Club, where he played cricket alongside Test players Geoffrey Greenidge and Richard Edwards.