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Former WI batsman Rowe gets a stand in his name

June 21, 2011 09:53 IST

In recognition of former West Indies batsman Lawrence Rowe's services to West Indies cricket, the Jamaican Cricket Association (JCA) dedicated a stand in his name at the Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

Rowe, better-known for his triple hundred and the world record of a century and a double century in his debut Test, however chose the moment to apologise for his past conduct.

Lawrence RoweThe conduct he was referring was his decision to tour South Africa during the years of the apartheid in 1983 which angered and upset the Jamaican population to the extent that the right-hander had to leave the Caribbean and settle in the United States.

Rowe, now 62, made 2047 runs from 30 Tests at an average of 43.55, including seven centuries. He retired when he was only 31 due to falling eyesight and allergy to grass.

"(The eyesight) was so bad that at that time the pitch appeared 40 feet long. The square seemed as if it was rounded," remembers Rowe.

During his career, Rowe had this peculiar habit of whistling while batting.

"I used to whistle to get my concentration going. I was stopped by the opposition team a few times from whistling."

Rowe was compared to Sir Frank Worrell for his graceful style of batting but he said he never saw the great West Indian cricketer bat.

"I looked up to Sir Garfield Sobers in batting. I never saw Sir Frank Worrell but people compare me to him," he said.

Rowe played four Tests against India during the 1975-76 series and made 179 runs with a highest score of only 47.

His favourite Indian batsman, not surprisingly, is Sachin Tendulkar.

"Sachin is a great player. When I watch him, I get the image of myself. I also enjoy watching VVS Laxman, Dravid, Gambhir and Sehwag," Rowe said.

As for his decision to apologise, Rowe said he could not have accepted the honour without feeling sorry for what he did 28 years ago.

"Before I could accept it, it was time to put an end to it. If I wasn't sincere, I wouldn't have done it...it was time to apologise to Jamaican Cricket Association and the rest of the world. Today is the final death of that tour."

Photograph: Getty Images

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