Voice of Caribbean

This Barbadian has won many hearts with his captivating commentary skills over the years

Wednesday, May 21, 2022

Tony Cozier

Sportz Interactive

He is the unmistakable voice of West Indies cricket, a prominent commentator and a respected writer. Anthony Cozier, or Tony Cozier, as he is known in the cricketing world, has won many hearts with his captivating commentary over the years Just as Richie Benaud for Australia and Harsha Bhogle for India, Cozier has been the voice of Carribean cricket for several decades now. 

He has seen West Indies cricket go through the best and the worst of times. 

Born in Barbados, Cozier is the son of renowned journalist Jimmy Cozier who was the managing editor for the St Lucia Voice and founder of the Barbados Daily News.

Cozier during an ODI between Somerset and West Indies in 1995.
© Getty

Cozier was a sports enthusiast from his early days. He began as a goalkeeper for Barbados' hockey team while in cricket, he played as a wicketkeeper-batsman for two local clubs, Wanderers and Carlton. But journalism was in his blood and he turned his attention to it at a very tender age.

In his spare time after school, Cozier used to work at the St Lucia Voice by doing page layouts and other odd jobs. He used to spend his holidays working at Trinidad's Evening News, and even covered a few games in Barbados for them. Infact he covered his first international game at the age of 15.

From journalism, Cozier moved to the field of commentary in 1965. His first assignment as a radio commentator was the Test match between West Indies and Australia. Since then, he has never looked back and has charmed millions with his enchanting commentary.

Cozier was BBC's Test Match Special commentator and, currently, he works as an efficient member of the Sky Sports West Indian Cricket commentary team. He was one of the earliest commentators to have carved a niche for himself on radio.

In the 1980s any Test series between West Indies and England would see the Caribbeans being the dominant side. This they would do always to the soundtrack of Cozier urging them on. The Englishmen always felt that they were up against Cozier as well as the playing XI of the Windies on the field.

Another instance of this St Kitts-born's commentary endearing himself to us was during a Sri Lanka-New Zealand Test match. Sri Lanka's thunderbolt paceman Lasith Malinga bowled a superb yorker to rattle the timber of a Kiwi batsman. Cozier went on to make a famous comment: "Even God couldn't have played that".

Cozier's career as a writer has also been notable. His 'The West Indies: Fifty years of Test Cricket' in 1978 has been one of his best pieces ever. Legendary Sir Garfield Sobers himself wrote the preface for the book.

Cozier is certainly a commentator who backs his own team and puts his point of view forward even if it's against the best in the business. But he is also a big fan of Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. His review of Lara's knock of 277 against Australia in the 1992-93 Sydney Test won him a plenty of praise.

Cozier talks to retiring match referee Clive Lloyd during the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup.
© Getty

He is nicknamed the 'keeper of the flame' because the West Indian commentator is at his best talking about the glory days of Caribbeans. But Cozier also doesn't shy away from passionately discussing the low points.

He disagrees with the manner in which cricket is run by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and feels that great players of the past must contribute to help the youngsters. He once said: "The resource material in their (former players') heads is absolutely vital and also the status which they hold among young emerging players. 

They must be encouraged to come back into the sport to help the youngsters."
Cozier's perseverance as a commentator and writer paid off when he was inducted to the Cricket's Hall of Fame at an annual induction ceremony in 2007. 

The ceremony was held in Hartford, Connecticut, USA and Cozier was rewarded with the honour for his outstanding contribution to the sport.

Now at the age of 68, Cozier has become the grand old man of West Indian cricket journalism. West Indies as a team may have declined but it has diminished his passion for the sport.

But still, Anthony Cozier is the most popular West Indies cricket commentator ever.

If all goes well in the future, Cozier will only hope for one thing, and that is to see West Indies cricket at the helm of the sport it once ruled before he decides to hang up his boots.