1924-2013 March 3, 2013

Sammy Guillen dies aged 88

ESPNcricinfo staff

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".

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 4, 2013, 0:45 GMT

    I had the good fortune to be the co-author of Calypso Kiwi. I started the project in 2002 and finished it in 2004 and durng that time, it involved me driving four hours up from Dunedin, to spend a weekend at Sam's place. When we were not sitting around and getting his thoughts down on paper, we played golf together at the Harewood Course, which he was a member of. It had to be said, he was a bit of a burgler when it came to golf, but he could I deny a man in his late 70's? He also loved his horses and had some interesting theories about a variety of things, especially when it came to cricket. I last saw him a year ago when I was working in Christchurch for a month. He was still hale and hearty then and was very proud of his grandson Logan Van Beek, who is a current member of the Canterbury side. His wife Valmai also played for the Canterbury women's side - a fact that Sam (or Simpson as Valmai always called him), never knew, until he found her provincial cap one day. Much missed.

  • Dummy4 on March 3, 2013, 22:58 GMT

    It was just a few days ago, 26 February, when Sir Everton Weekes celebrated his 88th birthday, Tony Cozier, doing commentary on Windies-Zimbabwe game, noted that, Sammy Guillen was the only living former Windies player, older than Sir Everton.

  • Dummy4 on March 3, 2013, 22:40 GMT

    A mate & myself actually went to his house after he wrote his book. He signed it for us. A lovely guy - he had so many stories about Sobers, Weekes, Worrell, Walcott. His book is a good read! RIP.

  • Dummy4 on March 3, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    RIP Gullien..one of the rare Cricketers to play for two countries - West Indies and New Zealand !!!

  • No featured comments at the moment.