Sammy Guillen dies aged 88
Sammy Guillen, one of a handful of players to have played Test cricket for two countries, has died in Christchurch aged 88. A wicketkeeper-batsman, Guillen represented West Indies and New Zealand during an eight-Test career in the 1950s.
Guillen played five Tests for West Indies on the tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1951-52, soon after which he emigrated from Trinidad to New Zealand at the age of 28. In 1956, he was picked for three Tests against West Indies, though he hadn't completed the four-year residential requirement for New Zealand. West Indies, however, didn't object to his selection. "When I came out to bat, all the West Indies boys gathered around, raised their caps and raised three cheers," he wrote in his autobiography, Calypso Kiwi. "Words can't explain how I felt."
In the final Test of that series Guillen stumped Alf Valentine, which completed New Zealand's first-ever victory, more than 26 years after their first match. It was his last act in Test cricket. He played 66 first-class matches, representing Trinidad & Tobago and Canterbury in a 15-year career, taking 111 catches and effecting 34 stumpings.
Former West Indies batsman Sir Everton Weekes was quoted by the Trinidad Express as saying Guillen was "a very good wicketkeeper" and "one who thought more of his batting." He said Guillen was a "real team man who always looked on the lighter side of things," and recalled an occasion in the 1951-52 series in Australia when Guillen was sent as a nightwatchman in the Melbourne Test.
"He walked out without a bat and, of course, took a lot of teasing from us about it," Weekes said. "But he was the kind of person who enjoyed a joke, even on himself. And he was a good cricketer who also enjoyed the game to the fullest. My sympathies go out to his wife and family".