West Indies are a multi-national cricket team, representing as many as fourteen Caribbean islands and territories. It was never easy holding players from different islands together. But a person with spectacles made this difficult task possible. Under his leadership, West Indies became invincible and remained unbeaten in Test cricket for 15 years. The person is none other than Clive Lloyd.
Former Bangladesh skipper Aminul Islam Bulbul has been a Windies fan since childhood. A major reason behind this was the bespectacled man. When Bulbul was appointed captain of Bangladesh, he wanted to lead like Clive Lloyd. Although his captaincy stint was a brief one and he was relieved of captaincy after leading Bangladesh in 16 ODIs.
Bulbul, the second-ever batsman to score a hundred on the team's Test debut, is now working as the development manager of ICC. The former Bangladesh captain has met his idol quite a few times.
In the second episode of The Business Standard's (TBS) 'Captains' captain' series, Aminul Islam has spoken to us about his favourite leader.
In Aminul's words
It's difficult to pick the greatest ever captain. I've played under a few captains when I played for Bangladesh. Then again, I've played under a few while playing club cricket overseas. I believe I've played under some very good leaders.
I always praise the captaincy skills of Lipu bhai (Gazi Ashraf Hossain). He used to be a great game reader. He understood the psychologies of the players very well. He was a positive thinker and used to lead very well.
Lipu bhai captained the side in the eighties when we used to participate in the ICC trophies. We hardly got opportunities to play One Day Internationals. He was the captain in our debut ODI match. He used to be my counterpart in domestic cricket as I always played for Mohammedan and he played for Abahani. He used to take a lot of instantaneous decisions that paid off most of the time.
But if I talk about my idol, then it would surely be Clive Lloyd. Although I hardly got to watch cricket during his playing days. But the way he held the players from different nations together was incredible. The team became unstoppable under Lloyd. They won consecutive World Cups and didn't lose a Test match for 15 years. These things attracted me.
West Indies were a relatively weaker team before. They were thrashed by Australia in 1975. From there, the journey of West Indies and Clive Lloyd was no short of a fairytale. One after one, they produced numerous world-class players who ruled the world for almost two decades.
Lloyd was someone to whom captaincy came naturally. He led from the front, led by example. I can remember a Test match between West Indies and India where Lloyd fought with tailenders like Michael Holding and Andy Roberts, eventually getting a hundred. Then he scored a hundred in the first-ever World Cup as well.
As I said, it was not easy holding players from different nations together. I met him a few times. He came to our annual conference recently. I asked him how he made his team invincible and where he learned those game tactics from.
He said, "At that time batsmen were not very efficient to bat against swing and bounce. So I wandered around all those islands in search of fast bowlers. I tried to make the team a family and that did wonders."
I didn't have the opportunity to play with or against him. So I tried to visualise what Lloyd would do and not do while I was a captain. I couldn't really become the guardian of the team like him but I maintained a friendly relationship with everyone.
He played some memorable innings in his career. But if I am asked to pick my favourite, I'd name the fighting hundred against India in Kolkata. The hundred in the World Cup was also fascinating.
He himself was a gem of a cricketer. Apart from that, he spotted and produced players like Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding. He was the captain as well as the coach. His tactical knowledge was outstanding. He knew exactly where to attack and where to defend.
At that time, there was hardly any chance of watching television. All I got to know about him and the West Indies was by reading newspapers. I was fascinated by one idea. He had Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes as roommates. They both were openers. He thought that it would be great for the team if they stayed together and built a good relationship with each other.
The spirit which Lloyd built in the West Indies was not seen anywhere at that time. That's why it was so hard to beat them.
If you see his stats, he has six thousand runs at an average of over 40. That's not bad at all for a batsman. But everyone knows him, admires him as a captain. I think that is a great achievement.
Lloyd would have continued playing for West Indies for a few more years. It would have been great to see him play. Not only was he successful as a captain, but also he left a legacy. After him, Viv Richards and Richie Richardson led West Indies to many more successes.