West Indies Sylvester Clarke to Surrey County Cricket Club’s Legends List; “The batsmen were genuinely afraid of him”

Surrey County Cricket Club has launched a new campaign to engage with young audiences and build a stronger connection with the history of the game and the power of the game. The campaign will build on something that cricket fans already know.

Surrey in 1982: Back row: Monte Lynch, Jack Richards, David Thomas, David Smith, Sylvester Clarke, Graham Monkhouse, Paul Taylor; Front row: Graham Roope, Alan Butcher, Roger Knight, Robin Jackman, Geoff Howarth

There were selections under three categories namely Surrey Today, Surrey Legends and Internationals at The Kia Oval (post-2000). Former Guyanese Monte Lynch and former West Indies fast bowler, Barbadian Sylvester Clarke have been named in the Surrey Legends category.

A decade after Sylvester Clarke first came to Surrey in 1979, batsmen dreaded visiting The Oval. He was as friendly coming off the field as he was brutal with the ball in hand.

Clarke began on Barbados with the Kent club, where he had watched Charlie Griffith bowl, and made his debut for the island in 1977/78. In his third match, he took a hat-trick against Trinidad and, before the season was over, was in the apology for a Test team West Indies had to field against Australia after the World Series players walked out.

He never played another home Test. Before injuring his back, he played in five Tests out of six in India the following season but suffered from dropped catches. Then he made the full-strength team on tours of Pakistan in 1980/81 and Australia in 1981/82.

On 1983’s rebel tour to South Africa

After being limited to 11 Tests for the West Indies and then joining the Rebels tour of South Africa, Clarke devoted himself to making life miserable for the domestic batsmen with blistering pace and alarming lift.

Many of the 591 first-class wickets he took for Surrey – out of 942 overall – were matched by bruised and broken bones and he probably did as much to promote the wearing of helmets as anyone in the game.

Sadly he did not have time to look back on his career as he passed away in December 1999 aged 44. Monte Lynch, a friend and teammate of Sylvester Clarke, recalled, “Batsmen genuinely feared him.”

“He was one of the nicest blokes I ever met.” said his team-mate Alec Stewart.

In 2021 a Roof Terrace bar, ‘Sylvester’s’, was named in the great man’s honor at The Kia Oval – it sits atop the Galadari stand and offers what many consider to be some of the best views in world cricket!

Several other players were named in it, and they are, Micky Stewart, Ebony Rainford-Brent, Jan Brittin, Molly Hide, Jack Hobbs, Ben and Adam Hollioake, Monte Lynch, Ken Barrington, John Edrich, Jim Laker, Mark Butcher, Mark Ramprakash and Bosser Martin,

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