Seymour Nurse: Stylish and Classy

Tue, Nov 21, '06


Sticky Wicket

(The Sticky Wicket West Indies Hall of Fame in Antigua launches its voting process to select two more persons to join the select group of legends to be named among "Cricket's Finest". Voting ends November 30, 2006).

A stylish, classy batsman who will forever be remembered for the last innings he played on the international stage, Seymour Nurse played for West Indies between 1960 and 1969, and in 29 matches showed he was truly a world-class batsman. Many of the game's aficionados still remember him today as the man who made batting look easy

In his final Test innings in New Zealand in Christchurch, the former Barbados and West Indies right-handed batsman made an amazing 268 and surprisingly retired after the match.

He first emerged as a heavy scorer in the Barbados Cricket League and moved to the prestigious Empire Cricket Club, just outside Bridgetown. He got into the West Indies team at age 26 and blossomed on the 1966 tour of England. Then, he passed 50 five times in as many Tests, and though he hammered 137 at Headingley his best innings probably came at Trent Bridge, where he thumped a majestic 93 in trying circumstances. He was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1967.

On the 1968-69 tour of New Zealand, he scored 558 runs in three Tests in that series including a 90, a century and a double-century. In the first Test at Auckland, New Zealand's sporting declaration gave West Indies five and a quarter hours plus the 15 mandatory overs to chase 345. He cracked 168 in 215 minutes and when he was dismissed at 296, the win was assured.

Called-up at the last moment for the third Test against England at Sabina Park in February 1960, he hit a sparkling 70 in his debut innings. To announce his arrival, he hit the first ball he received from Brian Statham to the cover boundary for four. That innings launched a 29-match career, which produced 2,523 runs at 47.60 per innings, including six centuries.

After leaving the cricket scene, he continued to play for his club in Barbados. He also made a huge contribution to the development of many of the young players who came through the ranks in Barbados. He was head coach of the National Sports Council -- the government's sports development programme -- and was manager and coach of the Barbados and West Indies Youth Teams.

His list of recruits included Malcolm Marshall, Desmond Haynes, Roger Harper, Courtney Walsh and Gus Logie, all of whom went on to represent the West Indies.

He was also a highly-respect member of the board of directors of the Barbados Cricket Association and was manager and coach of the Barbados team in the 1990s Today at age 73, he remains a quite, peaceful man who attends a lot of clubs and schools matches to offer encouragement to the players. He said it was a great delighted to represent the West Indies, after coming from a humble background.

"My aim was always to play for Barbados and the West Indies, and having achieved this I was satisfied. Life has been good and I must say I'm happy, I played for my people and they showed me great respect," he said.

* NOTE: If Seymour Nurse is selected to the Sticky Wicket Hall of Fame, he will join Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Viv Richards, George Headley, Clive Lloyd, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall, Lance Gibbs, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Brian Lara, and Ridley Jacobs.