Caribbean cricket has been mourning the death of Trinidadian Michael ‘Joey’ Carew this week, who died at his home in Port of Spain, aged 73 on Sunday. A stylish left-hand opener, Carew scored one century in his 19 Tests, his 1,127 runs coming at an average of 34.15. He also took eight wickets with his part-time leg spin and captained Trinidad & Tobago, becoming the first captain to lead them to back-to-back Shell Shield titles.
He had only played 13 first-class matches in eight years when picked to tour England in 1963 and despite a moderate start to the summer, a century against Glamorgan was enough for him to be picked for the first and third Test of the series. He was in and out of the regional side throughout his playing career but was always admired for his professionalism and vast understanding of the game.
Carew went on to become a selector for West Indies cricket for 20 years, on and off, retiring from the post in 2006. He was the West Indies’ longest-serving selector.
Christopher Martin-Jenkins once wrote of Carew: “Perhaps his greatest legacy to West Indies cricket, however, lies in the advice and encouragement he gave to a young left-hander from Santa Cruz in Trinidad. Brian Lara rewarded Carew richly for the interest he showed in him.”
Ironically, it was over a public dispute with Lara, when Lara was captain, over team selection that Carew stepped down from his post as selector.
President of the West Indies Cricket Board Julian Hunte paid tribute to Carew, saying he had remained passionate about the game at all levels until the end of his life. “He reached the very top as a cricketer and remained astute and feisty in his assessment of the game and cricketers for the decades he served as West Indies selector,” Hunte said. “He was responsible for selecting some of the greats of West Indies cricket.”
Carew’s old opening partner Stephen Camacho, who is now secretary to the board of directors for the WICB, said his contribution as a selector was his most notable one to West Indies cricket. “He was a particularly fine captain and an astute tactician. Joey was a great friend of mine and his passing is an immense loss to West Indies cricket.”
Cayman’s technical director of cricket, Theo Cuffy, knew Carew well and grew up in Trinidad observing his friend’s extraordinary ability to read and understand the game.
“I spoke to Joey’s son Michael on the phone to give my condolences,” Cuffy said. “David Carew, Joey’s second son was in one of my youth teams in 1986.
“Joey was one of the most outstanding thinkers in the game. He saw things which the ordinary man didn’t – and even some more knowledgeable people.
“He was a very nice person, always willing to help and advise. People really valued his contribution to West Indies cricket. He was also involved with the biggest club in the Caribbean, Queen’s Park where he was a stalwart. A great man who will be dearly missed.”