Contact Us

The west Indian all-rounder who lived short

5th May 1933 was the birthday of O’Neil Gordon ‘Collie’ Smith, an enterprising West Indian all-rounder whose life was cut short due to a tragic car accident in 1959.

ST
Last updated: 05.05.2019
The west Indian all-rounder who lived short | Sports Social Blog

5th May 1933 was the birthday of O’Neil Gordon ‘Collie’ Smith, an enterprising West Indian all-rounder whose life was cut short due to a tragic car accident in 1959.

After starting their test journey around the 1930s, West Indies were becoming a strong outfit from mid-fifties as great players like Sir Garry Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Lance Gibbs, Sir Wes Hall, and others were making their mark and established themselves. The young Collie Smith was also a part. Smith was an exceptionally talented batsman and off spin bowler.

Smith was chosen early. Against the touring Australians, he played a brilliant knock of 169 for Jamaica. It was just his 3rd first-class match but based on the promise he displayed he was picked to play the first test. He immediately got the success and scored 44 in the first innings and an outstanding 104 in the second innings, although in a losing cause. He was dropped after bagging a pair in the second test but came back later in the series and contributed.

Based on his performance he became a regular in the team and toured New Zealand with them without much success. He had a very successful series in England in 1957. He scored centuries in the first and the third test and was selected to be part of ‘Wisden Cricketer of the year’. Later that year, he toured India and Pakistan with the team and scored his last test century at Delhi. He also got his only five-wicket haul in test cricket in that match.

With a batting average of 31.69 and bowling average of 33.85, Smith was expected to serve the West Indies cricket for long but tragedy struck on 7th September 1959. Smith was playing Burnley in the Lancashire League at that time. He and his fellow West Indian teammates Garry Sobers and Tom Dewdney were traveling to London by car to attend a charity match. Sobers was on the wheel of the car and hit a mil truck very early in the morning. Sobers and Dewdney suffered minor injuries and at the beginning, Smith was also normal but he was hit on his spine and soon went to Coma. After three days of Coma during which his sense never came back, he passed away at the tender age of 26.

His body was taken to Jamaica and his funeral was attended by 60,000 heart-broken fans.  His legacy continued as the road passing ‘Boys Town club’ was named Collie Smith Drive and also a statue of him was unveiled in 2018 on that road.

Chase Your Sport

Sports Social Blog: Chase Your Sport aims to create a sustainable platform for Indian sports lovers to provide latest updates on Indian Sports Trends, analytics, career in sports & health & fitness tips