A mainstay in the batting line up for 19 years, Clive Lloyd presided over West Indies’ most successful era. Lloyd was captain for 74 of the 110 Tests he played, a higher number than any other West Indies captain and his win percentage of 49% makes him one of the most successful leaders in Test cricket history. He is widely credited with West Indies’ reinvention as a haven for fast bowlers, following defeat on tour to Australia in 1974-75. Lloyd identified the hostility and pace of Lillee and Thomson as essential components of a successful Test team and set about compiling the attacks that would terrorise batsmen for two decades.
Lloyd’s career bridged the great eras of West Indies cricket; he made his debut under the captaincy of Garry Sobers and, in his final Test, he could count a young Courtney Walsh among his team-mates. In between, Lloyd was captain for all eleven of West Indies’ consecutive Test wins in 1984, a record streak that was only surpassed by Steve Waugh’s all-conquering Australia side between 1999-2001. Lloyd also oversaw the start of West Indies’ run of 29 series without tasting defeat from 1980 to 1995.
In the one-day arena, Lloyd was similarly successful, leading West Indies to World Cup glory in both 1975 – when he became the first man to score a hundred in a World Cup Final – and again in 1979. To this day, he is still one of only four men to have led a side to more than one ICC title.
Alongside his leadership, it should not be forgotten that Lloyd was a fine batsman in his own right. Remarkably consistent in all conditions – Lloyd averaged 46.46 at home and 46.80 away from home – he ended his career with 19 hundreds, the fifth most by a West Indian batsman.
Domestically, Lloyd enjoyed great success at Lancashire where he scored in excess of 1000 County Championship runs in seven of his 16 seasons at Old Trafford. He helped the Red Rose to six one-day tournament wins (four Gillette Cups and two John Player Leagues) between 1969 and 1975 and is still regarded as one of the county’s most successful overseas players of all time.