FRIENDS & LEGENDS: From Alfred Valentine …. to Usain Bolt

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published December 15, 2014

Alfred Valentine © Getty Images

Alfred Valentine is ranked in the top 100 Test bowlers of all time by the International Cricket Council. © Getty Images

In memory of Pablo McNeil: “The Bolt of Lightning and Me”

On a sunny day in high school, a track and field coach and former two-time Olympian, Pablo McNeil, most famously known for introducing Usain Bolt to the world, summoned all the cricketers to the front of the school by the Principal’s office. Mr. McNeil, a disciplinarian at heart, was not to be defied when he gave an order.

DÉJÀ VU

Pablo McNeil and a young Usain Bolt at the World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica

Pablo McNeil and a young Usain Bolt at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica © Jamaica Observer

Pablo or Sir Mac, as he was affectionately called, had famously that year shared his story with the entire school of his personal experiences with former Prime Minister, Michael Manley. On the morning after the Prime Minister died, he told us how Michael Manley saw him sprinting away on the cricket field after a ball and encouraged him to focus on track and field. These circumstances are eerily similar to what happened between him (McNeil) and the legendary Usain Bolt on the cricket field a few decades later.

TWO GIANTS

That day, which followed Michael Manley’s death, I saw Mr. McNeil cry before the entire school population. No one would have believed it if we didn’t witness it ourselves. Mr. McNeil crying! I guess we were too young to understand, but the entire nation was crying, the entire Caribbean, the entire world. Continue reading

52 Days Between TRIUMPH & HEARTBREAK

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published December 1, 2014

Phillip Hughes

Phillip Hughes

In memory of Phillip Joel Hughes, a true gladiator

I haven’t had the guts to view the Phil Hughes blow from Sean Abbot’s bouncer a few days ago, simply because of the memories it would unearth and how lucky I’ve been in the past.

A DARK DAY

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Phillip Hughes

Cricket, the gentleman’s game, has its dark side and dark days. The dark side in recent years has involved the much-hushed match-fixing or spot-fixing sagas. Last week, however, when Phil Hughes was hit in the head by a bouncer while attempting a hook shot, it saw the return of cricket’s dark days. The storm cloud was at the doorstep of every cricketer and fan: the possibility of death on the cricket pitch. Continue reading