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Supercat by Simon Lister

Release date: 29th October, 2007
Publisher: Fairfield Books

List Price: £16.00
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Were he in his pomp today, the immediately recognisable monochrome image which adorns the front of this marvellous biography would have made Clive Lloyd millions. His stature within the game of cricket, combined with his on-field leadership and dignity away from the crease ensured he was the most respected cricketer of his generation, a mild-mannered guy who transformed a struggling West Indies side into world beaters. A Supercat indeed.

Clive Lloyd's cricket was a mixture of unbelievable power and finesse: he could stroke the ball to the boundary or lash it for six while swivelling on one leg. He succeeded in entertaining cricket followers across the globe with his skill and power, although he is prouder of the manner in which he created and led one of the best sports teams ever.

Simon Lister, an obvious fan, provides the reader with a timely reminder of Lloyd's unparalleled cricketing achievements. In total, the great man captained the West Indies in 74 of his 110 Test matches, during which the West Indies lost just 12. In addition, he featured in 82 one day internationals and lifted the World Cup twice. He continues to live in Lancashire where he played 219 times and where he is still considered a hero, not least thanks to Lancashire's remarkable success in one day competition, particularly the Gillette Cup.

Unlike other cricketing tomes currently doing the rounds, Lloyd sees no merit in lambasting authority or, worse still, his former team-mates. No doubt he could, but one gets the impression that such an approach would achieve nothing and actually diminish his status. His cricketing achievements speak for themselves, so why complain when, like a true leader and gentleman, he can be magnanimous? The approach works: there's no dirt dished here, just a genuine sporting great telling it the way it was.

Lloyd was born in Guyana in 1944 and from the age of eight was forced to wear glasses after a ruler struck him in the eye during a playground squabble between two other boys. Later, he suffered from a tetanus infection which almost killed him and his hard-working father died when he was 14. This was hardly the grounding for a career in professional sport, but Lloyd's tenacity and inherent cricketing brilliance was evident from his earliest forays onto the pitch.

When selected to play for a (then) indifferent West Indies side, Lloyd was elated: the letter he received from the Guyanan Cricket Board advising him of his selection was, he says, "so well written, with such enthusiasm, exhorting me to achieve great things, that I had no option but to take up the challenge and do my best."

That Clive Lloyd gave of his best for the national team is beyond doubt and buried towards the end of the book is a fascinating chart which shows just how good he was. Between December 1979 and January 1985, he captained the West Indies in 47 matches, during which time they lost just three. No-one who followed him - from Viv Richards to Brian Lara, came close to achieving anything similar. "Too many people assumed we had a right to go on being great forever," he muses, but for those of us who were lucky enough to see him play, Clive Lloyd will always be a great, a Supercat in fact.


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