Clive Lloyd will always be remembered as one of the most charismatic captains ever in Test and ODI cricket. He led one of the most dominant cricket team in cricket history and won the first two ODI cricket World Cups in 1975 and 1979.
Under him, fast bowlers Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Joel Garner shook rivals without any protective gear. Gordon Greenidge and Viv Richards led terrorization with the bat.
“My job was tougher than that of the Prime Minister of any island,” he says. “You had to develop a situation. There are 14-odd islands, different cultures. What you had to have is trust. Otherwise, they are not going to play for you. Winning, just like losing, is contagious.”
Lloyd said, “We didn’t have a cent. Winning was important, (then) we had more money. India had millions of people, same with Pakistan. By winning, we could demand a better tariff to go to those countries.”
Lloyd also recalled the famous Leeds Test of 1984 series between England and West Indies, in which an injured Malcolm Marshall bulldozed a terrified English team, who were blackwashed 5-0.
Marshall had broken the thumb on his left hand while fielding, yet came out to bat one-handed, to help Larry Gomes reach his century. Then he was asked to bowl which a plaster on his left hand and went on to blow the England batting lineup away with 7/53 and took his team to the win.
Clive Lloyd recalled that incident and said, “This is an example of trust, Marshall and I were having a discussion. I asked him, ‘Marshall, can you play?’ He asked me, ‘you want me to play?’ We got him a flesh-coloured plaster. He batted one-hand (faced eight balls), helped Larry to a century. Not too many captains will do that, pick an injured player.”
Another captain who is credited with turning the fortunes of a team around is Sourav Ganguly, who took over the captaincy of Indian team in the aftermath of the match-fixing scandal and turned the Indian team into an aggressive bunch of players, who weren’t afraid to take on the best of the best and beat them in their own backyard.
Ganguly said, “I backed Bhajji because he had the ability; in that series, he was the go-to man.” Ganguly and Lloyd were speaking at the London launch of the book “Eleven Gods and a Billion Indians” by Boria Majumdar.
Harbhajan Singh picked up 32 wickets in 3 Tests including the first ever Test hat-trick by an Indian bowler. He was the sole star bowler in absence of Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath, who were both out injured.
Lloyd was also asked about Virat Kohli, the current Indian captain, whether he saw him as a superstar like Viv Richards.
Lloyd replied, “He is doing extremely well. It was a bit unfortunate in the last Test (India lost by 31 runs in Edgbaston). I suppose you can’t be a pussy cat (laughs). You can be stern at times, as long as you don’t go over the line.”
Lloyd says: “He is a guy who has got to own that dressing room. And he performs, so he will galvanise the team. Virat is a rock star, box office.”
(with inputs from HindustanTimes.com