Former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd is undoubtedly one of the most inspirational cricket leaders the world has ever seen. It was under his captaincy that the West Indies team had dominated every other cricketing nation for over a decade in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Between 1974 and 1985, Clive Lloyd had 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.

The West Indies were firm favourites to claim their third consecutive title in 1983 Cricket World Cup as well but was stunned by the Indian cricket team in the final.

Windies’ 27-match unbeaten streak under Lloyd

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, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Sir Andy Roberts and Colin Croft, who remained the best at their trade for a long time. 

Leading them, Clive Lloyd had propelled 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.

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 of personnel 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.

Read: West Indies cricket players: Inspirations of each era

Leading from the front

Apart from being a great manager, Clive Lloyd was a prolific 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 southpaw has 1,977 runs in 87 games at an average of 39.54.

Llyod had won the Wisden Cricketer of the Year award in 1971 and was later inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2009. Clive 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 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 in May 2020.

“I would say, he would probably be, definitely be by far the greatest Test captain. Everyone says to me, he had the quick bowlers, batters, I said he still had to get the best out of them, he made them to a professional side after the Kerry Pecker’s series, it was him,” Lamb added.

Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @ICC