Bridgetown, May 12: Renowned regiol and intertiol cricket jourlist Tony Cozier, the voice of West Indies cricket for more than five decades, has died.
The 75-year-old passed away on Wednesday at the Bayview Hospital where he had been hospitalised for the last few days, reports CMC.
Cozier’s illustrious career coincided with the halcyon days of the West Indies cricket during the 1970s and 1980s, and he continued to chronicle the regiol team’s fortunes over the last few decades of their decline.
The Barbadian, whose skills spanned radio, television and print, worked for nearly every major intertiol media entity including the BBC, Channel Nine and Sky, and also wrote extensively for Caribbean and intertiol papers.
Though he had struggled with health challenges in recent years, Cozier remained a major force and was had a presence in the commentary box when England toured the Caribbean last year for a three-Test series which finished 1-1.
The West Indies Cricket Board on Wednesday hailed Cozier as a “great ambassador” who had made an enduring impact on the sport.
“The lifelong work of Tony Cozier centred around West Indies cricket and he made a lasting contribution to the game,” a WICB statement said on Wednesday.
“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.”
It continued: “He was not just a great jourlist, 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.”
Long-time friend and fellow outstanding regiol commentator, Reds Perreira, said Cozier’s death represented the loss of the finest ever “all-round cricket jourlist”.
“I’ve lost not just a friend, I’ve lost a brother. He was in fact an outstanding Caribbean man,” Perreira said.
“He was no doubt the best all-round cricket jourlist the world has ever seen and Barbados and the West Indies can be totally proud of the work of Tony Cozier.
“Not many jourlists could broadcast radio, television and write many columns on a day of a Test match.”
Well-known English cricket commentator and writer, Jothan Agnew, with whom Cozier featured extensively on the popular Test Match Special, was also glowing in tribute.
“Tony moved seamlessly between television and radio boxes throughout the world, gleefully describing the West Indies’ domition of the 1980s and then lamenting their subsequent demise,” Agnew said on the BBC website.
“He was a wonderfully descriptive and disciplined commentator, his melodic Bajan accent the perfect soundtrack to any cricket match.”
Trinidadian Fazeer Mohammed, the noted intertiol cricket jourlist, said Cozier’s body of work was unparalleled.
“Tony Cozier was not just the pre-eminent cricket jourlist in the Caribbean history of the sport but also one of the finest ever in the entire global coverage of the game,” he told CMC Sports. IANS