Next month, the Hero Caribbean Premier League comes to South Florida for the second straight year. Some West Indian cricket heroes will be at Broward Stadium in Lauderhill watching the action. Among them will be former Jamaica and West Indies batsman Lawrence “Yagga” Rowe.
The stylish right-hander has called the Sunshine State home since the early 1980s. He was ostracized for leading two rebel West Indies teams to Apartheid South Africa back then.
This year marks 45 years since Rowe made his sensational debut for the West Indies Test team against New Zealand at Sabina Park. In that his game he scored 214 and 100 not out, the first and only batsman to accomplish such a feat in his first test match.
For most of the 1970s, Rowe, along with sprinter Donald Quarrie and soccer player Alan “Skill” Cole, was the most popular sportsmen in Jamaica. Things changed with for Rowe with his controversial expedition to South Africa and attracted strong criticism globally from those who were firmly against the white-only racist policy of South Africa before the presidency of Nelson Mandela.
In 2011, the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) announced it would name a stand at Sabina Park in his honor of Rowe, but public outcry over his sojourn to play in South Africa saw that plan hastily overturned.
Today, Rowe heads the non-profit Lawrence Rowe Cricket Legendary Foundation, which helps underprivileged children in South Florida.
Rowe is originally from Whitfield Town, a tough area in Kingston, the Jamaica capital city.
At its 2015 function in Margate, West Indies fast-bowling legend Wes
Hall saluted Rowe’s work. “I’m seeing great evidence of him helping the youth. You can give back not only to the place where you come from but also give back to your adopted country,” Hall noted.
Lawrence Rowe excelled in Test cricket when the five-day-long aspect of the game reigned. He played in only 11 one-day matches with a top score of 50.
Copyright 2017 – Caribbean National Weekly News