Tony Cozier 1940-2016 May 11, 2016

Tony Cozier, voice of West Indies cricket, dies at 75

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Holding: Cozier was the doyen of WI cricket

Tony Cozier, the West Indian cricket writer, commentator and journalist, has died in his home country, Barbados, at the age of 75 after an illness. He had been admitted to hospital on May 3 for tests related to infections in the neck and legs.

Cozier began writing on cricket as a teenager in 1958 and, despite not having played the game at a high level, he became one of its most distinguished voices. His last column on these pages was published on May 1.

"Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Tony Cozier today," the ICC said on Twitter. "One of the truly great voices of cricket. A huge loss for the cricket community."

The WICB's tribute hailed Cozier's service to the game: "The lifelong work of Tony Cozier centred around West Indies cricket and he made a lasting contribution to the game. He ensured that West Indies cricket fans all around the world received information and knowledge about their beloved team and their favourite players. His life was dedicated to the game in the Caribbean and we salute him for his outstanding work.

"He was not just a great journalist, but also a great ambassador. He represented West Indies wherever he went. He educated people around the world about our cricket, our people, our culture and who we are. His voice was strong and echoed around the cricket world. He enjoyed West Indies victories and shared the pain when we lost. He gave a lifetime of dedicated service and will be remembered by all who came into contact with him."

Cozier, whose father Jimmy was also a cricket writer, began his commentary career during Australia's tour of West Indies in 1965. Over five decades, Cozier grew into an accomplished media professional across mediums all over the world. He worked in radio and television, wrote books, and was published in newspapers, magazines and on the internet.

He edited the West Indies Cricket Annual between 1970 and 1991, and in 1978 wrote the acclaimed book, The West Indies: 50 Years of Test Cricket. In 2011, the MCC awarded Cozier life membership for his services to the game.

It was estimated that Cozier was among the most prolific watchers of Test cricket anywhere. Wisden in 2003 reported that he had watched 266 Tests in his 40-odd years of covering the game up to that point.

Sambit Bal, ESPNcricinfo's editor-in-chief, said Cozier was one of the most credible voices in West Indies cricket. "To say Tony loved cricket would be somewhat shallow: cricket was his life, and it was a life of great distinction. He cared for the game deeply and absolutely, and his heart bled for West Indian cricket, which he served as a broadcaster, writer and conscience-keeper for five decades. His was the most credible voice from the region and, in the last decade-and-a-half, an anguished one. He gave the game as much as he got from it and it can safely be said that he will be impossible to replace, on ESPNcricinfo and elsewhere."

Cozier is survived by wife Jillian, his daughter Natalie and his son Craig, who had returned from India where he was working as a television producer for the IPL to be with his father.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sekou on May 14, 2016, 15:35 GMT

    No one would have been happier, I think, with the determined manner in which WI U19 successfully completed their run chase in final of 2016 WC than Mr Tony Cozier. Then he would have proud of the women's victory in T20 WC and enjoyed the men's triumph. This opinion is formulated by listening to him through my years as a WI cricket follower-as he painted glorious pictures of the game and was one of few factors which contributed to my love of it. I believe that-even if you count Mr Cozier as lucky to get to develop a career in a field he loved passionately-he alone is responsible for his success through his hard work, dedication and passion. He also displayed a lot of humility in his commentary and writing-ready to shine light on injustice, cheating and prejudice as in recent article 'More to Ganteaume than his average'. My sympathy to friends and family-they will miss him most but we all will. Take console in that he might have felt some joy in the flicker of WI pride before he left.

  • machai8100851 on May 13, 2016, 14:05 GMT

    An innings that cut short when he was at 99. Tony brought the joy of West Indian cricket to every remote corner of the West Indies I have so many pleasant memories of groups of us huddling around a small radio listening to Tony as he eloquently described the beautiful game. Many of us also share his sadness for the demise of west Indian cricket. Rest is Peace. The joy you bought to us will always be remembered

  • stanle2933488 on May 13, 2016, 7:10 GMT

    Knighting Tony Cozier should be automatic. May God rest his soul eternally. The Sir Tony Cozier Award for Cricket Commentaries should be instituted to honor him and should go to a regionally-based WI cricket commentator doing ball by ball commentaries. Simultaneously, the Sir Tony Cozier Literary Award for Cricket Writings should be initiated to reward a young or an established regional cricket journalist. These awards can be alternately given so that each is awarded every two years. It is the least that MUST be done to show our appreciation for the quality, professional, and gifted cricketing art work laid down by a man we should all be proud of. In addition, someone should be chosen either every year or two years, maybe three, to prepare and deliver the "Tony Cozier Lectures" in a black tie affair at some posh location. Donations/admission fees can go to a charity Sir Tony Cozier would have supported or to fund a library/museum in his honor. Stanley A George III, Esq, Bolans, Antigua

  • Benjamin on May 13, 2016, 3:54 GMT

    Very sad news indeed and may he RIP. There was nothing better than listening to TC when playing the west indies. Regardless of whether they were winning or losing he just had unbridled passion for the great game of cricket. In two years we have lost the two great book ends and voices of test cricket. Richie Benaud and now Tony Cozier, the game and fans were blessed to have them and the game has prospered because of them. Let's hope their legacy can continue for decades to come.

  • jaswant on May 13, 2016, 1:29 GMT

    The greatest West Indian innings has come to an ended. Privileged were the billions who listened to him through one of the most illustrious career ever known to a commentator. From 1965 to the most recent,he had seen more of WI cricket than anyone else. Not even the great Sir Garfield Sobers can say otherwise.Mr (Sir) Cozier was an encyclopedia of cricket. With his unlimited vocabulary and sweetly timed adjectives,the genius of over four decades will be sadly missed. Regrettably WI cricket will never be the same. Mr Cozier a man of brilliance and dignity is now history. My deepest condolences to his family,friends and the world that mourns for him. may his soul have everlasting peace.

  • mlrcae7429719 on May 13, 2016, 1:04 GMT

    A tragic loss of not only an icon of commentary but a friend, sage and guru of the game and most notably his elocution and charismatic baritone will not be replaced. MR. Cozier you will be missed by all in the cricket fraternity and more so by all West indians. U played a marathon innings and it's so sad that one unlucky ball took your stumps out of the ground! You will always be remembered for your sagacity and candid no nonsense opinions you so eloquently expressed when it came to cricket. May your soul rest in peace. Condolences to your family and relatives.

  • ramcha2862497 on May 13, 2016, 0:17 GMT

    He was unmatched for cricket wisdom and cricket knowledge. He was authoritative, and this was the source of his influence. He flattered nobody and told it as he saw and felt it. When you read or heard him you never felt what he was uttering was about him.It was about cricket, and West Indian cricket, about which he was passionate and caring. Let us say it again: it was never about him. it was about cricket. So in the best way it was about him. He was the voice and spirit of West Indian cricket. CLR focused and philosophised. Tony Cozier told the story. Keeper of the flame. We will not see, read, or hear the like of him again. Tony Cozier, I hope that your departing will serve as a sacrifice at this time and lead to the future you have always fought for and believed in.

  • Patrick on May 12, 2016, 18:29 GMT

    A well-played innings that showed his knowledge of the game. An innings that gave some many enjoyment . RIP Tony Cozier.

  •   Dave Treehouse on May 12, 2016, 17:56 GMT

    Another very sad loss. A truly distinctive voice and such knowledge of the game. Going through old commentary featuring Cozier this afternoon and then flicking onto the IPL reinforced how lacking the younger breed of commentators are. Thank you, Tony.

  • Edd on May 12, 2016, 17:54 GMT

    R.I.P. Tony, one of my favourite commentators and writers. The voice of West Indies cricket.