Former Cricket Canada president Dr. Geoff Edwards has joined several of the game’s illustrious players, administrators and supporters in the world’s first cricket Hall of Fame.
He was inducted two weeks ago along with new International Cricket Council (ICC) president Zaheer Abbas, who was unable to attend the event because of meetings in Dubai.
Established in 1981 in Hartford, Connecticut, the Hall of Fame includes Sir Garfield Sobers, considered the sport’s greatest all-rounder ever; Lance Gibbs, who was the first spinner to claim 300 Test wickets; Sunil Gavaskar, who was one of the world’s best opening batsmen; the late Sir Frank Worrell, the first Black man to captain a West Indies cricket team and George Headley, who was the first of the great Black batsmen to emerge from the Caribbean.
Dr. Edwards, who played cricket at the club and national levels in St. Vincent & the Grenadines prior to migrating to Canada in 1968, was overwhelmed by the appointment.
“When you look at the calibre of people in the Hall of Fame, these are players who performed at an exceedingly high level on a consistent basis and were ranked among the best in the world,” said Edwards, who served for 18 years as a Mississauga Sports Council director. “I idolized Sir Gary and George, so to be recognized in the same group that they are part of is quite an achievement for me.”
Jamaican-born soil research scientist, Dr. Constantine Campbell, a member of the 1958 Guelph Gryphons national soccer championship team that was inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame five years ago, nominated Edwards, who was a left-handed middle-order batsman and outstanding gully fielder.
“I first met Geoff when he represented Guelph in the Hamilton & District Cricket League (HDCL),” said Dr. Campbell, who started a cricket team in Swift Current, Saskatchewan and was inducted into the Hall of Fame nine years ago. “I was immediately struck by his professionalism and deportment. Elegantly attired in his cream flannels and broad-rimmed Aussie-style hat, he was certainly a cut above our more pedestrian weekend cricketers.
“But on the field of play, he was even more impressive. He smote the ball with a ferocity that was reminiscent of the great Clive Lloyd and he drove, cut and hooked with an awesome majesty. As his teammate for nearly two decades, I was exposed first-hand to his unlimited expertise and unbridled passion for the game. He’s a gentleman who epitomized that true cricketing spirit that eludes so many of us.”
Edwards – a St. Vincent & the Grenadines teammate of former West Indies wicketkeeper, team manager and selection chair Mike Findlay – replaced Jack Dickens as the HDCL chair in 1983 and served in the position for 12 years. He was also an Ontario Cricket Association director for a decade and Cricket Canada president from 1996 to 2003.
One of six Canadians honoured in 2009 with ICC Centenary medals for their contributions to the sport in Canada, 69-year-old Edwards also managed national cricket teams to the Bahamas, Los Angeles and Calgary. He was Cricket Canada’s representative to the ICC from 1996 to 2003 and the Association’s representative on the ICC cricket playing committee for two years up until 2003.
A University of Guelph veterinary science graduate, Edwards presented Cricket Canada’s winning bid in 1999 for this country to host the ICC Trophy World Cup qualifying tournament in 2001, lobbied India, Pakistan, the West Indies Cricket Board, the International Management Group and Trans World International for additional funds from two Sahara Cup tournaments at Toronto Cricket Club to install turf wickets and supported cricket being included for the first and only time in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia.
Lionel Bedessee, who migrated from Guyana in 1971 and sold cricket gear and magazines for several years, was also in this year’s class of inductees.
By RON FANFAIR