Sylvester Clarke

Country: West Indies
Born: December 11, 1954, Lead Vale, Christ Church, Barbados
Height: 6ft 2in
Batting Style: Right hand Bat
Bowling Style: Right arm Fast
Died: December 04, 1999, Christ Church, Barbados, (aged 44y 358d)

Sylvester Clarke Bio

Sylvester Theophilus Clarke, born on December 11, 1954, was a highly talented and powerful fast bowler from Barbados, West Indies. Known for his immense strength and ability to generate pace and steep lift, Clarke was considered as fearsome as any of his contemporaries from the West Indian team.

Clarke’s love for cricket began at a young age, growing up in Barbados, where the sport was deeply ingrained in the culture. He honed his skills playing for his club, Crusaders, and soon caught the attention of the cricket fraternity in the country. He made his debut for Barbados in 1978, impressing with a remarkable haul of 21 wickets in his first season, including a hat-trick against Trinidad.

His performance caught the eye of the West Indies selectors, earning him a spot in the national team for the third Test against Australia in 1978. In the absence of established fast bowlers like Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, and Colin Croft, Clarke spearheaded the weakened West Indies attack during the subsequent tour of India. In five Tests, he took 21 wickets, including the prized scalp of Indian batting legend, Sunil Gavaskar, on five occasions, making him the leading wicket-taker of the series.

Clarke’s success continued during his stint with Surrey in England. From 1979 to 1988, he played nine productive seasons for the county team, amassing a whopping 591 wickets at an astonishingly low average of 18.99 runs each. His most outstanding year came in 1982 when he took 85 wickets at just under 20 each and played a crucial role in Surrey winning the Benson and Hedges Cup.

In addition to his impressive record in England, Clarke also enjoyed success in South Africa, where he represented Transvaal, Northern Transvaal, and Orange Free State. In 1985, he achieved a remarkable feat by setting a new Currie Cup championship record with 58 wickets at an astonishing average of 12.72 runs each, further cementing his reputation as one of the most dominant fast bowlers of his time.

Despite his impressive performances, Clarke’s international career was limited due to the simultaneous presence of other exceptional West Indian fast bowlers and his controversial decision to participate in the teams that broke the international boycott against South Africa during apartheid. He played a total of 11 Tests for the West Indies, taking 42 wickets at an average of 27.85.

Away from the cricket field, Clarke had an uncompromising approach to batting, often displaying the typical aggression of lower-order fast bowlers. He showed his batting prowess with a quick-fire unbeaten 35 off 30 balls against Pakistan and even scored his only first-class century—an even, unbeaten 100 for Surrey against Glamorgan—in just over an hour.

Clarke’s career was not without controversy, as he was involved in an unfortunate incident in Pakistan during the final Test at Multan. He reacted to being showered with oranges and other missiles from the crowd by tossing back a brick, which unfortunately struck and seriously injured a student leader in the stands. This incident led to a two-match suspension for the subsequent home series against England.

After retiring from professional cricket, Clarke returned to Barbados, where he continued playing for Crusaders in the Barbados Cricket League (BCL). He remained closely associated with the sport, playing alongside his close friend and former Barbados and West Indies teammate, Collis King, until his untimely demise.

On December 4, 1999, Sylvester Clarke collapsed and passed away at his home in Christ Church, Barbados. He was just shy of his 45th birthday. His sudden death came as a shock to the cricketing community, further deepening the mourning following the loss of other prominent West Indian players such as Malcolm Marshall and Sir Conrad Hunte.

Sylvester Clarke’s bowling prowess, strength, and sheer brilliance continue to be remembered and celebrated. His remarkable contributions to the game, particularly during his time with Surrey and in South Africa, solidified his legacy as one of the most formidable fast bowlers of his era.

Sylvester Clarke Career Stats

Sylvester Clarke Batting Stats

Batting Matches Innings Nos Runs High Score Ave BF SR 100s 50s 4s 6s Ct St
Tests 11 16 5 172 35* 15.63 - - 0 0 - 8 2 0
T20Is - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ODIs 10 8 2 60 20 10 58 103.44 0 0 3 3 4 0
FC 238 265 44 3269 100* 14.79 - - 1 5 - - 146 0
List A 250 146 31 1278 45* 11.11 - - 0 0 - - 66 0
T20s - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sylvester Clarke Bowling Stats

Bowling Matches Innings Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10w
Tests 11 19 2477 1170 42 5/126 6/41 27.85 2.83 58.9 3 1 0
T20Is - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ODIs 10 10 524 245 13 3/22 3/22 18.84 2.8 40.3 0 0 0
FC 238 - 43564 18397 942 8/62 - 19.52 2.53 46.2 - 59 10
List A 250 - 12872 6833 364 6/31 6/31 18.77 3.18 35.3 10 6 0
T20s - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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