Like the greatest of cricketers produced by the West Indies, Tony Cozier too was a legend.
Writer, author, commentator, at times, even playing advisor to players in the Caribbean. In short, like the tagline of his fortnightly columns in this newspaper read, he was, “the voice of West Indies cricket.”
Tony Cozier during a match between WI and Somerset at Taunton, England in 1995. Pic/ Getty Images
Cozier has been a contributor to this newspaper group for over four decades. Reports, analysis, interviews, profiles… he did them all for Sportsweek, World of Cricket and mid-day. We read them all as kids and as sub-editors we marveled at his flow just like we did when we listened to his commentary.
When I asked him to start writing a regular fortnightly column for our Sunday edition a couple of years ago, he agreed willingly. Not because he needed a platform in India, but because he was passionate about his craft and work which took him to all parts of the cricketing globe.
Tony Cozier during his 1974-75 tour of India. Pic/mid-daY ARCHIVES
I last saw him in Sri Lanka during 2005 Triangular Series. In between broadcasting stints, he returned to the press box to file his copy. I sat behind my hero a few times on that tour and I was always curious to read the first line of his copy. He enjoyed his trip in company of fellow West Indian Gordon Brooks, the veteran photographer. The Lanka trip also afforded him a chance to meet Ian and Greg Chappell. Ian was on commentary duty while Greg was coach of the Indian team. He commentated and wrote about the two famous brothers when they played in the 1970s and 1980s and later shared space with them in the Channel Nine commentary box.
Apart from footage of West Indies cricket, Cozier made his presence felt in our bookshelves. He collaborated with Sir Garfield Sobers, Clive Lloyd and Michael Holding for books. Among the books he wrote were Fifty Years of West Indies Cricket and Supercat’s Summer – an account of the 1984-85 Australia vs West Indies series with Neil Jameson which was Lloyd’s last Test series. And of course, he edited all 22 editions of the West Indies Cricket Annual from 1970 to 1991.
Cozier had a big heart. As a youngster in 1988, I sought his help to get my copies of a Viv Richards biography and Gordon Greenidge’s autobiography signed by them. It was done and delivered without a fuss, the same kind of attitude that made him the enduring influence in West Indies cricket. Tony Cozier saw it all and deserved his exalted position in world cricket.
@darrensammy88: Condolences go out to the families and friends of #TonyCozier That voice will forever be in my head #RIPTonyCozier
@sanjaymanjrekar: I remember how Tony Cozier would finish his commentary stint & go straight to the press box. Perhaps felt, that’s where he truly belonged.
@bhogleharsha: 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.
@DJBravo47: What a sad day for cricket, especially WI cricket, and the fans. RIP Mr Cozier. Gone but you will never be forgotten
@MichaelVaughan: So so Sad ... Forget all the Great players .. Tony Cozier was the reason I loved West Indian Cricket ... #RIPTony
@DavidMillerSA12: Sad to hear about #tonycozier. Thoughts go out to family and friends over this time.
@cricketaakash: Cricket has lost one of its most trusted and endearing voice...watching cricket from the WI will never be same again. R.I.P. Tony Cozier
Jason Holder @Jaseholder98: So sad to see you go. You were an excellent commentator and a brilliant club man. We will miss you @WanderersCC RIP #TonyCozier
Tom Moody @TomMoodyCricket: So shocked and saddened by the news of Tony Cozier passing, a wonderful man and distinguished broadcaster. #RIP
Dale Steyn @DaleSteyn62: His voice will echo in my mind forever! Condolences to the Cozier family