WICB pays tribute to Grayson Shillingford

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua -- The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has paid tribute to former Dominica, Windward Islands, Combined Islands and West Indies fast bowler Grayson Shillingford, who died on Wednesday. He was 65 years old.

Speaking early Thursday, Dr Julian Hunte, President of the WICB, hailed Shillingford as a pioneer, an outstanding servant of the game, and true ambassador for his country and the region. Dr Hunte added that he was a hero to many people in his native Dominica and throughout the Windwards. He was the first Dominican to play Test cricket.

“The WICB would like to send condolences to the family and friends of Mr Shillingford and the people of Dominica at this time. He was one of those cricketers who had a passion for the game and served his country, the sub-region and the entire Caribbean proudly. He gave his all on the field and was respected and admired. He was totally dedicated and committed and gave a whole-hearted effort every time he took the field,” said Dr Hunte.

“Off the field, he made an excellent contribution to the development of the game and helped to chart the framework for the advancement of the game in his homeland as well as the Windward Islands. He was a hero for many young men who grew up in Dominica and were fortunate enough, like he was, to play at a higher level.”

Dr Hunte added: “As a pioneer he showed what could be achieved. He worked hard to make the grade and was then able to assist in the development of others, who eventually went on to play at the highest level and then, also contributed to the development of others. This is the true measure of his tremendous contribution to the game. He was an outstanding servant of the game, and a true ambassador for his country and the region. The great game of cricket has lost one of its finest sons, but we hope that Mr Shillingford’s shining example would be used by others to take the game forward.”

In his playing days, Shillingford was an accurate right-arm seam bowler who played seven Test matches between 1969 and 1972. Overall he took 15 wickets at an average of 35.8 per wicket.

He made his Test debut at Lord’s in a team which included Sir Garfield Sobers, Lance Gibbs, Basil Butcher and Clive Lloyd. He took four wickets in that match, and overall his best figures in an innings were 3-63 off 26.5 overs against New Zealand at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica in February 1972.

In all first-class cricket he played 81 matches, taking 217 wickets at an average of 26.5 per wicket, with best figures of 6-49 for Combined Islands against Trinidad and Tobago in St Kitts.