Ezra Moseley, the former West Indies fast bowler, has died at the age of 63 following a traffic accident in his native Barbados.
According to local reports, Moseley, who played a brief but significant role in two Tests against England in 1990, was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in Christ Church, near Bridgetown, and pronounced dead at the scene.
Had it not been for a stress fracture in his back, diagnosed at the age of 24, Moseley might well have risen to become a more vaunted member of the seemingly endless line of West Indian fast bowlers that ruled the sport in the 1980s and early 90s.
Instead, he ended up securing a shorter but undeniably significant place in West Indies’ Test history, due in no small part to one delivery that arguably changed the course of his one and only series.
As the sole member of the 1983 rebel tour to South Africa to overturn his life ban from the sport, Moseley managed to overcome the opprobrium that tarred most of the other members of the tour party, and having returned to Barbados after a spell with Eastern Province, he was selected to make his Test debut at Port-of-Spain at the age of 32.
West Indies were in some disarray going into that contest, having lost the opening Test of the series in sensational fashion to Graham Gooch’s unfancied England team, and with a team shorn of their captain Viv Richards as well as Patrick Patterson and Malcolm Marshall, they were once again up against it in Trinidad, with England chasing an obtainable 151 to claim a 2-0 series lead.
However, Moseley’s slippery pace would change the course of the match and the series, as he twice struck Gooch on the hand with rising deliveries, the second blow forcing the captain to retire from the match and the series with a broken hand – a fact telegraphed in an iconic photo of Gooch roaring with pain, as England’s physio Laurie Brown tended to the wound.
A combination of rain and controversial West Indies delaying tactics secured a draw for the hosts, and though Moseley would play just the one more Test, a series-levelling win at Barbados, West Indies battled back to preserve their decade-long unbeaten run, and his place in folklore was secure.
In all, he claimed six Test wickets at 43.50, in addition to seven at 39.71 in nine ODIs, the last of which came against Australia, also at Port-of-Spain, in 1991. In all, he claimed 279 first-class wickets at 23.31 in a 135-match career. He also picked up 102 wickets in 79 List A matches.
Moseley’s big break in cricket had come as a 22-year-old in 1980, when he was signed by Glamorgan on the strength of his performances in Barbados club cricket, and he lived up to his billing with 50 wickets in each of his first two seasons, after which he went on to debut for Barbados in 1981-82.
However, he was then forced to undergo a back operation and it was during his lengthy recuperation that he was signed up for the West Indies rebel tour of Apartheid South Africa, and at the age of 25 his career at the highest level seemed over before it had begun. He played one more season for Glamorgan in 1986, as well as a stint as a professional in Lancashire League cricket.
After retiring, he remained in the game as a coach, and ended up at St Michael, one of Barbados’s top secondary schools, where he played a key role in the development of the current West Indies captain, Jason Holder.
He also he served as a national selector for Barbados men’s and women’s team, and also served as assistant coach for the West Indies’ women’s team.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @miller_cricket
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