Past Windies players heralded as ICC CWC 2007 begins

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday March 13, patrons in the stands at the newly refurbished Sabina Park in Jamaica cheered with delight as members of the 1975 and 1979 West Indies teams, that won the first two Cricket World Cups, walked briskly onto the field, lead by then captain and current West Indies team coordinator, Clive Lloyd.

Wearing the traditional maroon blazers and a limited-edition striped Cricket World Cup tie, the players looked every bit the cricket heroes they are as they stepped into the limelight to be saluted for their achievements of 30 years ago.

Top government and ICC representatives participated in the short presentation ceremony which was hosted by veteran Caribbean cricket broadcasting legend, Tony Cozier, prior to the historic start of the first ICC CWC 2007 match.

Kenneth Gordon, WICB President and ICC CWC WI 2007 Inc. Chairman, opened with a short welcome speech in which he highlighted their contribution to Caribbean and cricket; acknowledging the debt of “five million people” to this select group of men.

Malcolm Speed, ICC CEO, led the presentation of a limited-edition, specially commissioned medallion that features the likeness of the original world cup trophy on its face and the WICB logo on the reverse. The players gathered according to the year in which they were a part of the squad and it was Speed who handed the gentlemen who played in both 1975 and 1979 their memento of this day.

Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson-Miller, greeted each player from the 1975 team with a warm hug as she presented them with gifts. His Excellency Most Honourable, Governor-General of Jamaica, Professor Kenneth Hall, was invited to do likewise with members of the 1979 team, that beat England at Lord’s, by 92 runs.

As each medal was handed over, Cozier introduced the recipient; every name drawing great cheers from the crowd. A palpably louder response was reserved for “Master Blaster” Sir Vivian Richards, who played in both 1975 and 1979 and in fact was Man-of-the-Match the second time around.

On behalf of all of the team members present, Lloyd addressed the enthusiastic crowd, who had arrived early to ensure they didn’t miss a minute of the action at Sabina Park. In his speech, the man known as the “Big Cat” in cricketing circles, took a moment to remember those squad members who have passed on. He recognised the contributions made by Keith Boyce, Roy Fredericks, Malcolm Marshall and Sir Clyde Walcott; the latter being manager and coach of both victorious squads.

The final honour was reserved for ICC President, Percy Sonn, who was on hand to present the original Prudential Cup to Lloyd who had lifted it in the first two ICC Cricket World Cups. In a modern recreation of those famous images, the former West Indies skipper hoisted the trophy high once more and turned to face the crowds to rousing cheers.

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