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Simon Lister is a cricket writer and senior BBC news producer. His first book, Supercat - the authorised biography of Clive Lloyd - was short-listed for the British Sports Book of the Year award. It was, said the Guardian, 'beautifully written'. He has been a contributor to the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and has covered the county game for the Sunday Telegraph. For ten years, his magazine column, Eyewitness, appeared in The Wisden Cricketer and its successor The Cricketer.
Cricket had never been played like this. Cricket had never meant so much. The West Indies had always had brilliant cricketers; it hadn't always had brilliant cricket teams. But in 1974, a man called Clive Lloyd began to lead a side which would at last throw off the shackles that had hindered the region for centuries. Nowhere else had a game been so closely connected to a people's past and their future hopes; nowhere else did cricket liberate a people like it did in the Caribbean. For almost two decades, Clive Lloyd and then Vivian Richards led the batsmen and bowlers who changed the way cricket was played and changed the way a whole nation - which existed only on a cricket pitch - saw itself. With their pace like fire and their scorching batting, these sons of cane-cutters and fishermen brought pride to a people which had been stifled by 300 years of slavery, empire and colonialism. Their cricket roused the Caribbean and antagonised the game's traditionalists.