“I wish I knew the reason for my longevity, but I couldn’t tell you what it is.”, said Cecil Wright, West Indies fast bowler. He is popularly known as “Cec” can be called as an ageless wonder and has proved that age is just a mere number. He has announced that ‘he will be taking retirement from the game at the age of 85’. YES! He is 85 years old and has been playing up till now. He has become the oldest cricketer to play and retire from the game. Usually, the cricketers retire from Test cricket in their 30's but Wright will be retiring at the ripe old age of 85.
Wright made his first-class debut for Jamaica and played his first match against a Barbados side which also had West Indies’ gems Wes Hall and Sir Garfield Sobers. In the match which he played, he failed to take any wicket and scored a run in two innings that he batted.
He moved to England in 1959 and launched a career as a professional in the Central Lancashire League for Crompton. And just after 3 years that is in 1962, he decided to stay in England and settled down there with his future wife, with whom he later had a son. He pursued his career as a professional cricketer after he met his wife.
He has played more than 20 million matches and has taken around 7000 wickets. He had 60-years long career and has the record of taking an astonishing amount of 538 wickets in just 5 seasons, averaging one every 27 balls. And not many are aware of the thing that he made his Test debut against Australia in Ashes in 1877 at the age of 49 years and 119 days, and as said cricketers now retire in their early and mid-30's but Wright made his debut at such age.
When asked about his long career and the secret ingredient that has added energy in him, he said that he wish he knew the reason behind it but couldn’t tell it. And also, he attributed the reason for his energy once to his love for traditional no Lancashire food such as a hot pot. When the topic came on diet and food, he said “To be honest I eat anything that’s going but I don’t drink much, just the odd beer.” But as he has shown age is just a number in terms of his career but he said that he often made an excuse of his age to miss the training in spite of being perfectly fit and fine.
Also, he gave a lesson to the world that come on guys, stand up and come out of the lazy atmosphere. He said that in order to keep ease with the aches and pains, he stays active and does not like sitting in front of the TV but prefer going for a walk or potter in the garage. His longevity and stamina was also appreciated by cricket Bible Wisden, “Pretty good going.”
After two weeks, he will become the oldest cricketer to play and retire from the game. Earlier, England’s James Southerton is the oldest player to make his Test debut. For India, Rustomji Jamshedji remains the oldest player as he was just 41 years and 27 days old when he first played Test against England in 1933 in Mumbai.
Cecil Wright has become an inspiration for everyone; he has proved that age is just a number and not a reason for any excuse. He is an ageless wonder and has realized it is time for the retirement, age is not a barrier. He will retire in 2 weeks’ time on 7th September 2019, Saturday, turning out for Uppermill, near Oldham, against Pennine League side Springhead.