Tributes poured in Wednesday following the passing of eminent cricket broadcaster and writer, Tony Cozier.
Cozier, 75, died at the Bayview Hospital on Wednesday after battling skin cancer these past months. Almost immediately, his death was met with worldwide expressions of grief.
President of the Barbados Cricket Association, Joel Garner, in extending condolences to the family and close friends of Cozier, said the respect he commanded across all levels of cricket was undeniable and that the BCA was proud to have had the honour of hosting him as the featured speaker at its annual awards ceremony held last month.
“His words of wisdom are bound to redound to the benefit of Barbados and West Indies cricket, as they rest cogently with the association’s strategic intent as outlined in our current Strategic Plan,” Garner said.
He added: “Cricket is richer having been blessed by the excellent contribution which Tony has made and we will forever be indebted to his keen observations and honest opinions.”
Though he never played at the international level, Garner said Cozier would forever remain a legend of cricket.
Management of the Barbados Tridents and team members expressed their sadness, describing Cozier as an ambassador for Barbados. Chairman of the Tridents Sid Mallya said: “All around the globe we have grown up listening to Mr Cozier’s voice in our homes as he brought cricket to life with his shared insight, enthusiasm and comprehensive coverage.”
The West Indies Players Association described Cozier as the “voice of Caribbean cricket” and noted he contributed writings on the game only days before his passing. In a statement WIPA said Cozier was renowned for his knowledge of cricket history and statistics. The association said Cozier was a pioneer in his field, while noting that at the start of his career he was usually the only West Indian on commentary teams.
Indian commentator and columnist Ayaz Memon added Cozier’s name to a list of late, great broadcasters and said, “John Arlott, Brian Johnston, Richie Benaud, Tony Cozier: a commentary team that will convert even gods into cricket loonies.”
English broadcaster Henry Blofeld with whom Cozier shared commentary when West Indies toured England in the 1970s and 1980s, tweeted: “How desperately sad. Tony Cozier was a brilliant commentator & a truly great man. West Indies has lost a man it will never replace. Tony Cozier was [the] only commentator able to walk seamlessly & brilliantly from the TV to the radio com box –– two vastly different disciplines.”
West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo also tweeted: “What a sad day for cricket, especially WI cricket, and the fans. RIP Mr Cozier. Gone but you will never be forgotten.”
South African fast bowler Dale Steyn said: “His voice will echo in my mind forever. Condolences to the Cozier family.”
West Indies’ Twenty20 World Cup captain Darren Sammy tweeted: “Condolences go out to the families and friends of Tony Cozier. That voice will forever be in my head.”
Former England international Graeme Swann said he was “really upset” at Cozier’s death. “He was one of the finest the comm box has ever been blessed with and a good friend. RIP.”
ESPNcricinfo’s editor-in-chief Sambit Bal noted: “To say Cozier loved cricket would be shallow: it was his life.
He cared for the game deeply and absolutely, and his heart bled for West Indian cricket, which he served as a broadcaster, writer and conscience-keeper for five decades. His was the most credible voice from the region and, in the last decade-and-a-half, an anguished one. He gave the game as much as he got from it and it can safely be said that he will be impossible to replace, on ESPNcricinfo and elsewhere.”
Award-winning sports journalist and broadcaster Alison Mitchell said: “His lilting accent, his passion, his knowledge. I’ll treasure the memories of working with Tony Cozier on TMS & his advice. One of the best.”
Noted Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle was eloquent in his description of Cozier’s contribution to cricket. “Go well Tony Cozier. You adorned our game. You loved it like a child and a parent. You had respect. You had dignity. And you had love.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan said it was Cozier who inspired his affinity for West Indies cricket. “So so sad . . . Forget all the great players . . . Tony Cozier was the reason I loved West Indian Cricket. RIP Tony.”
Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag tweeted that for him, Tony Cozier was champagne on air. Former Australian international Tom Moody tweeted: “So shocked and saddened by the news of Tony Cozier passing, a wonderful man and distinguished broadcaster.”
British journalist Jonathan Agnew tweeted: “Desperate to report the passing of great family friend, Tony Cozier. Not enough room here to pay sufficient tribute. Will miss him hugely.” Former England fast bower and cricket writer Mike Selvey said: “So sorry to hear the great Tony Cozier has passed away. Peerless commentator and observer of the game. Much missed. Love to family. RIP TC.”
British cricket analyst, writer and former cricketer, Simon Hughes, said: “Devastated to hear of the death of Tony Cozier, the finest man ever to inhabit a commentary box. A true gent.”
The former South African international Herschelle Gibbs tweeted: “Sorry to hear about the passing of Tony Cozier, lovely personality and a wonderful commentator! RIP.”
Indian cricket writer Aakash Chopra tweeted that cricket had lost one of its most trusted and endearing voices. “. . . Watching cricket from the WI will never be the same again. RIP Tony Cozier,” he said.