Nurse was ‘special’
The iconic Sir Garfield Sobers has hailed the late Seymour Nurse as a special talent who made a “great contribution to Barbados and West Indies’ cricket”.
Sir Garfield, who featured in four century partnerships with Nurse in Test cricket, told THE NATION his long-time mate was a dedicated cricketer and fine all-round sportsman.
“It is very sad to hear of the passing of Seymour, who has given so much not only in cricket but in football as well. I never saw him play football but the reports about him on the football field have been glowing. He was a tremendous goalscorer, so he was a good sportsman,” Sir Garfield said.
Nurse, one of the batting stars of Barbados and West Indies cricket in the 1960s, passed away on Monday at the age of 85.
Sir Garfield said Nurse was a dedicated cricketer, who scored heavily in the Barbados Cricket League (BCL) before earning recognition at a time when it was difficult to make the national team.
“I remember him from the 1950s when he and my brother Gerald, who was just as good or slightly better than Seymour at that time, both scoring a lot of runs for Boys Club in the BCL.
“Gerald went to trials, did well on occasion, but couldn’t get in the Barbados team, so he got tired of it and went to sea. Seymour stuck it out, made it and wrote his name indelibly. He was always the kind of person that you wanted in your team because he could play so well; he was such a great player, you could rely on him,” he said.
The wristy and elegant Nurse did not force his way into the Test team until he was 26 and Sir Garfield reckoned the abundance of talent in the 1950s was a huge factor in delaying his entry into the Barbados and West Indies teams.
“The Barbados team was difficult to get into in those days, so a lot of the players who could have got in early did not have that opportunity. You had Everton and Clyde playing, along with Roy Marshall and Cammie Smith. Then I got in and staked my name there so I was a regular player. I got in very early.”
Sir Garfield marvelled at how well Nurse adjusted to the green pitches in New Zealand.
“I went to New Zealand in 1956 and didn’t get a run, I was always a little uncertain out there. The pitches in New Zealand were far different from what I was accustomed to at Kensington Oval or Sabina Park.
“Nurse acclimatised to the conditions in New Zealand when we toured in 1969. He had a very good series, hitting two hundreds. Nurse played extremely well in that series and I was very shocked when he said he had written to the board and said he would not be available for the tour of England that followed. He would have been an automatic selection for the English series in 1969.”
Former Wanderers, Barbados and West Indies opening batsman Robin Bynoe said he was easily one of the better players he played with, good enough to be bracketed just below Rohan Kanhai.
“Seymour was a very polished player and among the top batsmen of his time. Seymour was in the class of people like Kanhai. Seymour at his best was very good.
“He was also very likeable and approachable. Seymour was a good man and will be badly missed. Seymour made his mark,” Bynoe said.
The 78 year-old Bynoe said that Nurse’s 201 against Australia at Kensington Oval in 1965, his maiden Test ton, was among the best innings he has seen. (MK)