FORMER national batsman Sheldon Gomes was remembered by his colleagues as a team player and one of the best fielders the West Indies have ever produced.
Gomes, the older brother of former West Indies batsman Larry Gomes, died in Las Vegas on Tuesday. He was 69.
Gomes, born in Arima, scored 2,645 runs in 55 first-class matches which included five centuries and 15 half centuries. The right-hander achieved a highest score of 213 and he ended his career with an average of 32.65.
Larry also had a solid career as a batsman for the West Indies.
Former national and Queen’s Park Cricket Club team-mate Colin Murray reflected on Gomes’ life. “Sheldon was a real team man. He was not only a team man, but he looked after the younger players,” Murray said.
Murray said he was not only a capable batsman. “He was a tremendous fieldsman. He probably run out more people in the world than Jonty Rhodes (former South African cricketer). He was a fantastic fieldsman, he was a good sportsman.”
Murray said Sheldon was also a top footballer in the Secondary Schools Football League when he attended Queen’s Royal College, saying he was a prolific goal scorer.
Murray, who believes he was talented enough to make it onto the West Indies team, remembered his personality. “He was a good human being. He cared for his team-mates, he was a practical joker.”
Former West Indies Cricket Board director Baldath Mahabir got to know Gomes during his time with Flamingoes Cricket Club and Clarke Road Cricket Club.
Flamingoes were a club which included predominantly Queen’s Park members from south Trinidad. Mahabir said the Gomes brothers including Larry and younger brother Randy all played for Flamingoes.
“A real gentleman,” Mababir said.
Mahabir said Gomes was an integral part of the development at Clarke Road.
On his ability, Mahabir said, “One of the best batsmen to spin bowling I have played with.”
Mahabir also remembered Gomes’ fielding ability, saying in his playing days he would be the 12th man for the West Indies team because of his brilliance in the field.
“In one particular series, the West Indies took Sheldon Gomes around as the 12th man…that’s how good he was.
“One of the biggest applause I have heard in Test cricket would have been a match in the (Queen’s Park) Oval where Steve Camacho got injured and came off the field. Sheldon Gomes took the field just to field and the crowd gave a standing ovation. The man was a phenomenal fieldsman, the best in the West Indies at the time.”