A voice went silent yesterday and cricket reporting in the West Indies will never be the same again after veteran journalist/broadcaster Tony Cozier’s innings ended at the age of 75.
News of his sudden and untimely death sent shock waves throughout Guyana and last evening the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and the National Sports Commission (NSC) were two of the local organisations to react to the news of his passing.
Cozier for decades has been a virtual institution of West Indies cricket, a journalist of the highest calibre and one who was not afraid to tackle the myriad of issues facing West Indies cricket whether the medium was print, radio or television.
He was the editor of the Red Stripe Caribbean Cricket quarterly magazine which chronicled in depth the regional first class cricket season complete with scorecards of all the matches before it collapsed.
President of the GCB, Drubahadur last evening expressed shock at the news of the passing of Cozier whose articles he said he grew up reading.
“First of all when I heard the news I was quite shocked,” said Drubahadur.
According to the GCB president he was accustomed to reading the late Cozier’s column in this newspaper every Sunday.
“Every week when I open the Sunday Stabroek there is an article. As a young guy growing up I became associated with Cozier and (Joseph) `Reds’ Perreira. They were very fair commentators,” he declared.
Asked to comment on the impact of Cozier’s death on cricket in Guyana and the Caribbean, Drubahadur said: “It’s a loss generally to the cricket fraternity. I would like to extend condolences to his family not only on my behalf but also on behalf of the Guyana Cricket Board.”
Sport’s Editor of the Guyana Chronicle and longstanding fan of Cozier’s writing, Leon Horatio, last evening told Stabroek Sport that he too was taken aback by the sudden demise of Cozier who was a virtual colossus in cricket reporting in the Caribbean and wider afield.
“Tony Cozier possessed a tremendous commentator’s voice, one of clarity, rhythm and superb description,” said Horatio.
“He brought joy to millions of spectators with his style of commentary and the way he used his pen to telling effect,” added Horatio who said he always looked forward to reading Cozier’s columns in the Sunday Stabroek.
Stabroek News’ Sports Editor Donald Duff said last night that Cozier’s death will leave a void in cricket reporting in the West Indies that will never be filled.
Cozier, he pointed out, was a syndicated columnist that fielded a weekly column in not only the Stabroek News but also the Nation newspapers in Barbados and the Trinidad Express in Trinidad and Tobago.
It was, he said, a column that cricket aficionados looked forward to with gusto.
Cozier, he said had a pulse on every issue that affected West Indies cricket and he was always on the ball, always willing to offer his expert opinion on issues that affected the region’s number one sport. Although not appearing to be in the best of health, so committed was Cozier, Duff recalls, that he attended last year’s ICC conference in Barbados where his credentials as the region’s top cricket journalist were again brought to the fore.
The Stabroek News extends condolences to Cozier’s wife Jillian and his children Craig and Natalie.
And the National Sports Commission last evening issued a press release on Cozier’s death.
Following is the full text of the release.
“On behalf of the Government and people of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana I extend deepest condolences to the wife Jillian, children Craig and Natalie, relatives, friends, Government and people of Barbados, West Indies cricket and the global cricket family on the passing of the legendary Tony Cozier.
Cozier was unquestionably the leading cricket commentator and writer in the Caribbean. His passing will leave a void that will not be filled. He was a cricketing institution who graced our shores annually to report and commentate on cricket. He loved Guyana and our people and the Guyanese cricketing fraternity and cricket fans everywhere will certainly miss his insight into the game.
He had a lifelong passion and love for cricket that exuded in his commentary and writings.
We pray that his soul rest in peace and his rich legacy lives on forever.”