COLOMBO—Sir Garfield Sobers has hailed Clive Lloyd’s all conquering team of the 1970s and 80s as the greatest in the sport, the likes of which will probably not be seen again. The legendary all-rounder made the assertion as he spoke passionately here earlier this week to members of the cricket fraternity.
“In the 1970s and 1980s and into the 1990s, West Indies were champions and had the best players in the world,” Sir Garry said.
“I don’t think you’ll see that again in the history of cricket. They were simply the best team in the world, the greatest cricket team ever, and probably one of the greatest sports teams ever.
“People talk about the fast bowlers, but I don’t call them fast bowlers, I call them express bowlers. You had Michael Holding and Andy Roberts coming at you and when they were finished you had Colin Croft and Joel Garner to follow up. There was no let up.”
He continued: “Waiting in the wings you had Wayne Daniel and ‘my boy’ Sylvester Clarke, who was just as quick as anyone going around. Malcolm (Marshall) came along a little later and he was just world-class. So this made for a tremendous bowling attack.
“You must remember that before the West Indies produced that kind of attack there was always two quick bowlers, a medium pacer and a spinner. But then Clive Lloyd came up with the master plan and the world had to contend with something they had never seen before – four big strong men bowling at express pace.”
As part of their world dominance, Lloyd’s team won the first World Cup in 1975 when they beat Australia at Lords and repeated in 1979 when they rolled over England at the famous venue. The side went on to dominate the longer format under Lloyd and then under his successor, Sir Vivian Richards, who never lost a Test during his time in charge.
Sir Garry pointed out that Sir Viv, along with several other batsmen, made Lloyd’s team extra special.
“Clive was a great captain and a great leader and he was also a tremendous player…he was respected by everyone,” Sir Garry continued.
“They dominated because they had the amazing players. When you look at the batting line-up, they had Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, the great opening combination, the best opening pair of the time.
“Then you had Viv Richards and Lawrence Rowe and Alvin Kallicharan, players who really established themselves and dominated. Larry Gomes and Richie Richardson followed and that made the team quite powerful.
“They had someone special in every department. They had it all. I don’t think you will ever see than again. It was simply a great team.”
Sir Garry is in Sri Lanka for the second Test match of the Sobers/Tissera Series between West Indies and Sri Lanka. The two-match rubber is named in honour of Sir Garry and Michael Tissera, the former Sri Lanka player and manager.
The two were the captains when West Indies played a three-day unofficial ‘Test’ against Ceylon back in 1967. Sir Garry is universally hailed as the greatest Test all-rounder ever. He played 93 Test matches between 1954 and 1974 and made 8,032 runs, took 235 wickets and held 109 catches. CMC