There are some people whose voices become synonymous with sport. In cricket, for me, growing up in England it was Jim Laker and John Arlott, on moving to Australia it was Bill Lawry, and of course Richie Benaud.
Harsha Bhogle has become the voice of Indian cricket, but there was only one voice when it came to West Indian cricket and that was Tony Cozier.
As Arlott’s voice was rasping with his Hampshire burr, Cozier’s was mellifluous, with that Barbadian rhythm.
What many may not know as Cozier trained as a journalist, was that he was also a talented sportsman. He played hockey as a goalkeeper for Barbados and when it came to cricket was an accomplished opening batsman and wicketkeeper representing two Barbados clubs, Wanderers and Carlton.
He commentated every single Wisden Trophy series except one – between England and the West Indies – from 1965 until he retired in 2002.
Apart from being a wonderful commentator, who was always honest on air he was also a very good writer, and his The West Indies Fifty Years of Test Cricket is a must for any cricket library. While eon air he also found time to edit The West Indies Cricket Annual for all its 22 editions.
He was rightly honoured by having the Press box at Kensington Oval in Barbados named after him and hopefully his legacy will have been to inspire so many other West Indians to write and talk about the game with the passion he did.
Having worked with his son Craig, my thoughts go out to the Cozier family, but hopefully they will take pride in Tony Cozier’s achievements and the respect he garnered around the world from all who love the game of cricket.
It is sad that another voice that immediately evokes memories of the West Indies in their heyday has been lost, but the memories he has left are everlasting.
May he rest in peace.