Bridgetown, Barbados, May 17 - (www.bcacricket.org) - Former Barbados and West Indies batsman Seymour Nurse has been described as a classical player.
In delivering the eulogy at Nurse’s funeral service at Kensington Oval, Sir David Simmons, a former Barbados Chief Justice, said Nurse belonged to the pantheon of Barbadian and West Indian batting aristocrats.
“To Barbadians who understand cricket, he was a legend because Barbadians admire batsmen who played beautiful strokes, look pretty, are stylish and aesthetically pleasing to the eye,” Sir David said before an audience including Nurse’s twin daughters Roseanne and Cherylanne, dignitaries, and past and present Barbados and West Indies cricketers.
“His strokes were cultured, elegant and refined as to evoke memories of Sir Frank Worrell. In the 1970s, Lawrence Rowe’s style was the closest to Nurse’s.
Among those present were Barbados Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason, Prime Minister Mia Mottley, members of her Cabinet and Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson.
Noted past players included the world’s greatest ever all-rounder, The Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Wesley Hall, Sir Charlie Griffith, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Joel Garner.
Sir David said Nurse was also part of a Barbados legacy to the game that helped the people of the island assert their “self-confidence and self-belief” immediately following political independence from Britain.
“In March 1967, a unique event took place at this cricket ground. A Barbados cricket team, including Seymour, competed against a team of Test players from the Rest of the World, “ he remarked.
“Barbados lost the game. But the fact of defeat in that single game must not be allowed to derogate from another inescapable fact that namely among the other wonders of the World stands Barbados’ contribution to international cricket.
“I think for decades before 1967 and arguably up to 15 years ago, it could be confidently asserted that nowhere else in the World was there more enthusiasm and skill for cricket than in the 166 square miles that constitute the land mass of Barbados. . .
“Barbados’ expression in that game against the Rest of the World was not a display of arrogance. It symbolised far more. . .It was a rejection of self-doubt. Barely five months earlier, this country had gained political independence from Great Britain and that singular action was an announcement to the World that we were possessed of that self-confidence and competencies that would enable us to manage our affairs for ourselves.”
Nurse died on May 6 at the age of 85 after a long illness.
He played 29 Tests between 1960 and 1969, scoring 2523 runs including six centuries and ten half-centuries, at an average of 47.60.
In 141 first-class matches, Nurse amassed 9489 runs with 26 centuries and 40 half-centuries, at an average of 43.93.
Nurse’s former West Indies team-mate, fast bowling legend Sir Wesley, in his sermon, described him as a “fine cricketer and a fantastic man”.
“We loved Seymour. He was a fantastic man. All dressing rooms should have a Seymour Nurse. He was special,” Sir Wesley said.
Sir Wesley said only Sir Garfield and Guyanese Rohan Kanhai batted better than Nurse in the 1960s.
He said Nurse knew that failure on the field would impede his success and worked extremely hard to develop his elegant and stylish stroke-play.
“Seymour was called ‘Casso’ by all members of the team after a marathon runner he frequently spoke about,” Sir Wesley said.
“He knew that failure was not the pathway to success, so he practised very hard to try and correct any flaws in his batting.
“In my book, only Sir Garry and Rohan Kanhai were rated above him in the late 1960s. ‘Casso’ was created competitive and he adapted brilliantly to the changing conditions in the game and that is why he was so successful against England in 1966 and against New Zealand in his final Test series in 1969.”
Sir Wesley described Nurse as a dear and special friend, who was friendly and compassionate off the field with a dignity few people could conceive.
He said Nurse’s skills as a coach were also noteworthy and he sought to develop the skills of the whole person and not just their playing talent.
“‘Casso’ was not like some coaches of today who seem to coach like how the Pythagoras Theorem is taught in Mathematics.
“This Theorem has not changed in the 60 years that I have left school, but cricket has changed. The point I am making is that a person is coaching the game, they must understand the dynamics of the society in which they are coaching.
“The coach must also understand the thought pattern of their charges and develop them mentally. A coach should understand that some aspects of the game have changed. A coach should not be coaching like if he is teaching Mathematics that doesn’t change.”
There were also tributes by Desmond Haynes, who is the chairman of Cricket Legends of Barbados, President of the Barbados Cricket Association and Cricket West Indies director Conde Riley, and Adrian King, the president of Empire Club, which Nurse represented for many years.
The interment took place at the Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens, The Ridge, Christ Church.