Sir Wes dreams of Cozier Oval
FOR THE FIRST time in five decades, Tony Cozier didn’t commentate a single ball or pen a story at a gathering where dozens of West Indies’ cricketers, including the greatest of them, Sir Garfield Sobers, and the legendary Sir Everton Weekes were assembled.
The Voice of West Indies cricket remained silent in his mahogany casket as hundreds of mourners, including politicians, cricketers, media practitioners, former schoolmates and friends paid their last respects at his funeral service at the Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens yesterday.
In his sermon on the “Power of God’s Love”, Reverend, Sir Wes Hall said Cozier was “sensitive to his God-given gifts and seized the opportunities that came his way.”
“Tony was the personification of Barbadian and West Indian excellence and as such it is only fitting to memorialise his outstanding contribution to our glorious game of cricket,” Sir Wes said to a congregation that included former West Indies’ captain Clive Lloyd, his deputy, Deryck Murray, current coach Phil Simmons and long-time friend and commentator Joseph “Reds” Perreira.
Sir Wes noted that the Prophet Joel said “that in the latter years young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams.”
“Yesterday, I dreamt that I was going down the road in Dayrells Road and when I looked around, I saw a big sign and it read ‘Tony Cozier Oval’ and that was at Wanderers,” he said.
“But I somehow feel that one day when we go by the University of the West Indies in one of those complexes up there, we shall see Tony’s name affixed to that.
“And not to leave out the Government, one day, we will see some Promenade, some boulevard, some big roundabout, again Tony’s name will be there,” added Sir Wes.
Sir Wes said Cozier, whom he called a “golden icon of West Indies cricket” was “his friend, confidante and hero and his passing devastated” him.
“But the redeeming factor is that just as he conducted his life and career with infinite grace, so was he in death,” Sir Wes said.
Sir Wes said “it has not gone unnoticed that the outpouring of love, respect and deep emotion across the social strata that is testimony to the legacy of service, goodwill and global standing as Tony is perfectly fitting into that pantheon of great West Indian icons,” he said.
He said “there was no oasis of prosperity” in the time that Cozier started his career as a cricket writer, noting he had to work very hard for his living as the job of a freelancer wasn’t easy.
His son, Craig Cozier, delivered the eulogy, tracing his father’s career in cricket writing from 1955 when he did his first match while still a student at The Lodge School, to his maiden radio commentary in 1965 and debut as a television analyst when the Kerry Packer Series bowled off in 1977.
Craig also mentioned his father’s love for music, fancying himself and would imitate the legendary Elvis Presley and Mighty Sparrow while he was also fond of Bajan superstar Rihanna.
He said among his father’s proudest moments was meeting the late South African president, Nelson Mandela, and being bestowed with a Silver Crown of Merit in 1989.
Cozier passed away last week Wednesday at the Bayview Hospital. He leaves to mourn his wife, Jillian, son Craig, daughter, Natalie and grandchildren.