West Indies’ Clive Lloyd ‘wanted to be the best captain’ - and he did
Former West Indies cricket captain Sir Clive Lloyd is undoubtedly one of the most inspirational leaders the sporting world has ever seen.
Born on August 31, 1944 in Georgetown, British Guiana, Clive Lloyd was an athletics champion at the school level and this winning mentality made him a champion at cricket too.
He made a mark in world cricket through his outstanding batting skills and also because of his impeccable leadership qualities. It was under his captaincy that the West Indies team dominated cricket for over a decade in the 1970s and 1980s.
Between 1974 and 1985, Clive Lloyd helped the Caribbean side become the most successful Test-playing nation in the world. He had led the West Indies team in three World Cups, winning the first two editions of the quadrennial tournament.
Clive Lloyd’s captaincy record
Under Clive Lloyd’s captaincy, the star-studded West Indies side had enjoyed a 27-match unbeaten streak in Test cricket, which included 11 wins on the trot — only a solitary match during this phase was captained by Viv Richards.
In the early 1980s, the West Indies team was filled with some unparalleled talents like Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge and devastating fast bowlers like Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Andy Roberts and Colin Croft, who remained the best at their trade for a long time.
The 6’4” Clive Lloyd commanded the West Indies to 36 Test victories in 74 matches with only 12 defeats coming under his leadership.
Lloyd is the fourth most successful Test captain in terms of matches won, after Graeme Smith (53), Ricky Ponting (48) and Steve Waugh (41), and remains the most successful West Indies captain in Test matches.
Lloyd’s men were quite brilliant in the ODI format as well, where they had won a staggering 64 games out of 84 matches with a win percentage of 77.71.
While Ponting, Waugh and later MS Dhoni were all said to have inherited a talented bunch of individuals, who eventually made the team worldbeaters, former England skipper Allan Lamb believes West Indian Clive Lloyd tops all of them.
“Everyone said he (Lloyd) had the best side, but he made the best side and for captain, you gotta have respect and you go to be winning and you got to have team support…. getting the best out of your team, he led that team the best,” Lamb said in an interview with Cricket Addictor.
Uniting the Caribbean to be world beaters
Clive Lloyd and Ricky Ponting are the two most successful captains of ICC World Cup as they have won it twice for their respective countries. Clive Lloyd had achieved the feat of lifting two consecutive World Cups in 1975 and 1979, which Ponting replicated in 2003 and 2007.
One of Clive Lloyd’s biggest successes was getting together individuals from various Caribbean countries for the sole purpose of becoming the best cricket team. Having such a diverse culture at his disposal, Lloyd saw it as an opportunity to cherry pick the best players to build the West Indies team he wanted.
Just like former India captain Sourav Ganguly had formed a winning combination for India during his tenure with the right blend of youth, vigour and experience, Lloyd had done it for the Windies in the 1970s.
“I wanted my team to be the best batting team, the best bowling team and the best fielding team. And I wanted to be the best captain,” Lloyd told English author Simon Lister.
“The first thing you must do is create the right mindset in the players and instil the right values. You then have to emphasise the importance of fitness, physical skills, especially mastery of the basic skills, as well as mental skills like clear thinking, concentration, self-discipline, handling pressure, dealing with different game situations and continuous learning,” he added.
Clive Lloyd the batsman
Apart from being a great manager, Clive Lloyd was a prolific middle-order batsman as well. As a player, he has tallied 7,515 runs in 110 Test matches at an average of 46.67. In the One-Day International format, the left-handed batsman has 1,977 runs in 87 games at an average of 39.54.
One of his most memorable knocks is the double ton he scored in Mumbai to set up a series win against India. In the 1974-75 tour of India, the Guyanese scored an unbeaten 242 to help West Indies claim the fifth and final Test by 201 runs. He won the Wisden Cricketer of the Year award in 1971.
Clive Lloyd, who was also involved in cricket as an ICC match referee from 2001 to 2006, was later inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2009. He received knighthood in 2020.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @ICC