I was recently sent an article written by : Abhishek Kumar who is purported to be ‘a cricket devotee currently staffing with Criclife.com.’
The article was entitled ‘Runako Morton: 14 lesser-known facts about the late ’West Indian cricketer.’
I was disappointed with the main contents of the article as I wondered why a professional Journalist would write such an article on July 22nd 2016, when Runako passed away tragically, since 4th March 2012.
The article elaborated on some of the cricketing ‘sins’ committed by the late batting star.
In response to that article, I have decided to pen 14 other facts about Runako Morton.
- A research on the unique name RUNAKO, would serve to inform that the name means HANDSOME. The name gains its origin (according to the research), in Zimbabwe.
- Runako played the game of Cricket, with unparalleled passion and zeal. He loved to win and to do well, whether he was representing the Gingerland Primary school; Gingerland Secondary School; under 19 youth teams; Nevis senior team; Leewards team or the West indies team. He played to win and chastised his team mates, when he observed what he considered as a lack of effort. When he failed to give of his best, he showed his disappointment in a conspicuous manner.
- He had a ‘never say die’ attitude. When he was written off more than once, by the cricketing pundits, the batting genius allowed his bat to do the talking and before you knew it, he was back in the West Indies team. He trained hard and practiced for many long hours. He believed that what you put in is what you would get out
- Even when he left the champions trophy 2002 tournament, under false pretenses, it was all about his passion for the game and the frustration he was undergoing. He was making runs in the practice matches and was not given a fair chance in the tournament. Okay, many of us may have handled it differently but dare anyone of us to cast the first stone……..
- During his one year ban/suspension, Runako continued to practice at his beloved sport. He kept himself busy and focused. He had determined that he MUST make it back into the West Indies team. He even used some of his time to help to train horses at the Indian castle race track with some of his Jamaican friends and became a regular at the then popular horse race meets.
- He was generous and gave freely of what he had. Testimony to this fact, was his giving of 1,100 customized exercise books to the students of the Jocelyn Liburd Primary School (his alma mater), in October 2006.
- Even some of his opponents thought highly of him. Here is what Harbhajan Singh had to say: ‘I am absolutely shocked to hear the sad news of my good friend, Runako Morton. Morton was one of those guys who I became really friendly with whenever India and West Indies clashed on the field. I remember playing against him in early 2007 when they toured India before the World Cup, and also in 2009, when we went there for four one-day matches,” he fondly recalled. He continued: “He was the reason I started liking reggae music. I think I tried to hide his Ipod once during one of the flights — just to play a prank on him. I wanted his great music collection. He was a very gentle guy. All of us had become friendly with him. He used to come to the dressing room and have friendly chats. We also went out for a few night outs when we toured there in 2009.’
- Runako’s tragic passing impacted thousands of individuals worldwide. Despite his many human errors, he was much loved.
- A memorial service was held in his honour in Trinidad (his adopted home) and a funeral service which attracted thousands of mourners and celebrities, was held at the ET Willet Park in Nevis.
- Pace bowler Kyle Mills presented his No.37 playing jersey to Morton’s family on behalf of the New Zealand team. The number was worn by Morton during his career
- The third one-day international between the Black Caps and the West Indies in St Kitts was dedicated to the memory of the middle-order batsman, who came from the neighbouring island of Nevis. July 11th 2012 was named ‘Runako Morton day.’
- Runako left some memorable quotes which demonstrate the way he thought of others and his team. Here are some of his quotes:
|Honestly speaking, I blame myself mostly for us losing that game. It (cricket) is not an individual sport but one individual could cause the downfall of a unit and hopefully in future that won’t happen again.|
|How the game (2nd ODI) was going it was required for someone to stop the flow of wickets that the opposition was getting so I had to decide what role was best for the team so that was the role I took up to stop the flow of wickets.|
|I feel good, I’m getting into my game, obviously the first two games wasn’t the best but it became a mental issue for me, I feel I can carry on and contribute to the team in a positive way.|
|It was a bit of frustration, it was very disappointing to lose the skipper at that point in time, somehow I just felt like today would have been his day to get some runs but that’s how cricket goes sometimes, you have to take some hard knocks.|
|It was disappointing to lose your skipper at that point in time. He felt like it could have been his day to get some runs but that’s cricket – sometimes you get the hard knocks.|
|It worked for the most part of the innings until I got out, I think about the team so hopefully in the next game I could continue the form and make a big one for the team.|
|It would be a lovely way to finish the tour, to carry on and make a big one for the team, I just need to be a bit more patient.|
|Some of the balls were not coming through, so you just have to wait for the bad ball.|
|That is cricket. The selectors looked at the best balanced team to go into the game. You’ve got to be patient.|
|We just can’t keep saying it’s a learning process, we have to get some wins, I think it is on the mental side, we need to think harder and read the game a bit more.|
- Runako Morton has a sacred spot reserved in the Nevis Sports Museum’s Hall of fame and just this year (2016), Junior Minister of Sports in the Nevis Island Administration, Hon. Hazel Brandy -Williams, officially named the annual Primary School cricket league, in his honour
- Morton represented the West Indies in 15 tests, 56 one-day internationals and seven Twenty20 matches from 2002 to 2010. He died at age 33.
So there, Mr. Kumar, he was not such a bad lad after all. At least there are many good things to be said about one of Nevis’ finest cricketing heroes.
ERNESTINE FRANCE MAKES 90
Combermere –Nevis-Ernestine France looked simply resplendent, as she sat majestically in a specially assigned chair at the Combermere Methodist Church.
The occasion was a thanksgiving service for her 90th birthday, which was held on Saturday 23rd July.
Her actual birthdate is on the 19th of May but friends and family members had to hold back on the grand celebrations until she arrived home from the United States of America, where she was spending quality time with some of her children.
The service of thanks giving was ably chaired by sister of the celebrant, Sister Janet Herbert and presided over by Rev. Telford Matthew who gave a brief sermonette, congratulating Ms. France on an exemplary life of giving to family and to the community on a whole. He also implored his hearers to take her lead and follow her example.
Family members and friends also united in paying tributes to her. Some songs and poems were also beautifully rendered in her honour.
The Hon. Patrice Nisbett was also on hand to pay tribute to the matriarch and noted that she helped in his upbringing and development in a real way and thanked her for assisting himself and his siblings, while they were going to school.
He noted that that kind of love, was extended to children throughout the neighbourhood.
Ms. France in her brief response, thanked God and her children for all that they have done for her.
The celebrations continued at the Franklyn Browne Community Center, where Mrs. Garcia Hendrickson presented a plaque and fruit basket to Ms. France, on behalf of Minister, Hon. Hazel Brandy –Williams and her entire ministry, in collaboration with the City Drug Store.
The persons present then joined the celebrant in a sumptuous feast to close out a memorable day.