Cricket

Hendriks hails late contemporary Scarlett as 'true stalwart' of cricket

Friday, August 16, 2019

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FORMER Jamaica and West Indies spin bowler Reginald Scarlett was hailed as a “true stalwart” after he died in England on Wednesday, a day short of his 85th birthday.

Jackie Hendriks, a standout West Indies wicketkeeper in the 1960s and one of Scarlett's contemporaries, confirmed to the Jamaica Observer that Scarlett died in hospital after battling an undisclosed illness.

“It's very sad. I remember Reggie as a very nice person, someone who took an interest in everything and everyone. He always followed the fortunes of our old schoolmates. He was a very fine cricketer and I feel he got a raw deal in West Indies cricket,” Hendriks said.

“We played Sunlight Cup cricket together at Wolmer's, and I can't forget how he started to play with us. The bowlers were tired in training and I saw him watching and asked him if he could bowl. He said yes, and I was surprised the remarkable amount of turn he got bowling his off spinners on a concrete pitch. We went on to play Senior Cup cricket for Kingston and then on to Jamaica and West indies,” he told the Observer.

A release from Cricket West Indies (CWI) noted Scarlett's role in developing cricket regionally.

“Reg was a true stalwart who never stopped loving West Indies cricket while he lived in England. He served the game selflessly, both on and off the field, until he retired in Grenada several years ago and continued to make his input into cricket development,” said the CWI statement.

Scarlett, who Hendriks said turned into a “useful” lower-order batsman, played three Tests for the West Indies. Scarlett made a significant contribution to the development of players following his retirement from the game in 1960.

He spent 15 years in England coaching and playing minor league cricket. Born in St Mary, Jamaica, he returned to his home country to oversee the Jamaica Cricket Association's youth development programme.

Years later, he went back to England, focusing on grassroots development and was said to have been the brains behind the Haringey Cricket College, which produced several leading county and Test players for England.

Scarlett subsequently returned to the Caribbean and became director of coaching for the regional cricket body. In support of Dr Rudi Webster, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Shell Cricket Academy on the campus of the St George's University in Grenada.

The CWI release added: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of CWI, we extend sincere condolences to his wife Trish and immediate family, and may the care and love of those around them provide comfort and peace to get them through this difficult time.”

In a release, the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) also paid tribute to Scarlett's contribution to “cricket development” in Jamaica and across the region.

WIPA President and Chief Executive Officer Wavell Hinds added: “The WIPA family would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Reginald Scarlett's family and friends, as well as the cricket fraternity. We wish them strength and peace at this time.”

— Sanjay Myers


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