Feb 22, 1980: Sportsmanship in tatters during “Croft-Goodall” Test

Clive Lloyd is a former West Indies cricketer Getty Images

The 1979-80 West Indies tour of New Zealand would be remembered for its ill-will and terrible sportsmanship.

The West Indies arrived after a tour of Australia during which they had won the Test series 2-0 and also beaten England 2-0 in the inaugural final of the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup.

But, things went downhill in New Zealand. New Zealand was in no mood to ‘host’ the world champions.

The players were made to carry their own kit to the bus and served terrible food — usually consisting of sausages and beans.

They resided in tiny motels that had no privileges of the 5-star hotels they were used to. Perhaps luckily, Viv Richards had gone home after the Australian series and did not witness this!

The trouble all started early in New Zealand’s second innings at Dunedin when Holding felt he had John Parker caught behind by wicketkeeper Deryck Murray, but umpire John Hastie disagreed.

Holding fumed, then walked down to the striker’s end and fly-hacked two of the stumps out of the ground.

The spectacular image of the kick, described by a local paper as “a disgraceful display of back-alley behaviour”, was to provide a fitting image of the series.

On this day in Christchurch, New Zealand captain Geoff Howarth was given a reprieve when he had clearly edged a Joel Garner ball to the wicketkeeper. The umpire Fred Goodall thought none of it.

At the tea break, West Indies were almost apoplectic. Lloyd asked his side what they wanted to do and the unanimous decision was not to resume. As the umpires and batsmen waited in the middle, a New Zealand board official was told by Lloyd, “They can wait. We won’t be joining them.”

Howarth returned to the pavilion and talked to Lloyd, apparently assuring him that he would tell his batsmen they had to walk if they knew they had hit the ball.

West Indies agreed to resume. But, in the first over, Holding later recalled that Howarth stood his ground “for yet another clear catch by Murray”.

Colin Croft decided to take matters into his own hands.

He appealed excessively when bowling, bowled a barrage of bouncers and called umpire Goodall a well-known four-letter adjective.

He then did the most unexpected thing. He shoulder charged Goodall from behind when bowling. The umpire expressed his dissatisfaction, but for a change, he didn’t say anything in return.

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