INDIA: Indian spinner remembers Runako Morton

| March 12, 2012

Runako Morton might not be the most well-known West Indian cricketer, but still he came out to be a very lovable and friendly character among cricketers and fans all over the world.

The cricketer’s untimely death in a fatal road accident saw people from almost all over the world paying tribute to this batsman.

Mere hours after Morton passed away following a vehicular accident late on Sunday night (04/03/2012), social media went buzzing with tributes for the former Leewards Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies batsman.

Morton was returning home to Princes Town after celebrating victory with his Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) teammates over T&TEC in the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) National League Premier Division when he met his death.

Morton had his share of disciplinary issues, as he was dropped from the regional cricket academy and the West Indies team for various transgressions during his international career.

The Late Runako Morton

He last played for T&T in their March 11-14 regional four-day match against the Leeward Islands last year, during which he and Leewards player Tonito Willett were arrested for marijuana possession after breaking team curfew.

But for all Morton’s disciplinary woes, the 33-year-old cricketer seems to have been immensely popular, given the outpouring of support and commiseration that followed his death.

In poured condolences to Morton’s family and West Indies cricket from journalists, cricketers and fans alike, both regional and internationally.

In India too the news shocked thousands of cricket lovers who had seen Morton in action against their national team.

“I am absolutely shocked to hear the sad news of my good friend, Runako Morton,” said India’s Harbhajan Singh. “In general, I have always found cricketers from West Indies extremely friendly. They are not just good cricketers, but are the nicest human beings and easiest going chaps. They don’t take their cricket that seriously and enjoy their lives a lot,” Harbhajan commented.

“And Morton was one of those guys who I became really friendly with whenever India and West Indies clashed on the field. I remember playing against him in early 2007 when they toured India before the World Cup, and also in 2009, when we went there for four one-day matches,” Harbhajan, fondly called Bhajji, recalled.

Harbhajan Singh

“I remember during the 2007 series, we used to sit next to each other on flights. Even if our seats were not originally next to each other, I would ensure I sit next to him. I was always intrigued by Caribbean music that he would listen to and requested him to pass on some of his music. I think I still have some of his collection. He was the reason I started liking reggae music,” Bhaaji said.

“He was a very gentle guy. All of us had become friendly with him. He used to come to the dressing room and have friendly chats. We also went out for a few night outs when we toured West Indies in 2009,” the spinner said.
“I remember he used to shout ‘Bhajji…Bhajji’ every time I used to walk out of the dressing room. It was almost as if we were on the same side. It’s a pity that I hadn’t seen him for a while before his death.”

Bhajji even remembers Mortan’s place. “I knew where he used to stay near St Kitts. It was a very beautiful place. It’s a big loss for everyone. I’ve lost a friend.”
Bhajji and Morton did not play each other much. They were at opposite ends during 12 One-Day Internationals. (Once in 2005, five times in 2006, twice in 2007, and four times in 2009). Harbhajan dismissed Morton on two occasions — bowled him for eight at Nagpur in January 2007, and later had him stumped for 22 at Gros Islet in July 2009. But even in this short span of time, the two had developed as close friendships.

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