'Age is just a number'. Cecil Wright is a living embodiment of this cliche quote. Young at heart, the fast bowler is nicknamed 'Cec' has finally decided to call it a day in two weeks' time—at the age of '85'. Yes, you read that correctly.
The fatherly figure on the cricket field, Cecil's name will not stack up in company with West Indies legends Viv Richards, Gary Sobers, and Frank Worrell, but for stamina, he outruns them all by light-years.
Samuel Cecil Wright, who in early days of his career represented Jamaica against Barbados, shared cricket field with the likes of Sobers and Wes Hall, migrated to England in 1959 and begun a career as a professional in the Central Lancashire League for Crompton.
Cecil has played with the likes of legendary Viv Richards and, the nightmarish bowler of the 1970s, Joel Garner. He has over 7000 wickets during a long career spanning more than 60 years. "Cricket’s in my blood, ever since I played barefoot in Jamaica", He proclaimed.
Cecil now has decided to make way for 'youngsters' and has accepted it is time to move on and find a new hobby.
At one stage of his career, he took 538 scalps in five seasons, averaging one every 27 balls. "I wish I knew the reason for my longevity, but I couldn't tell you what it is," he told The Daily Mirror, who reckon that he had featured in over two million games.
He once attributed his extended career to his love of traditional no-frills Lancashire food for instance hot pot. It is amazing how the old-timer managed to play for six decades when we know players, for instance, Shoaib Akhtar, whose knees were crocked rather early in his career and generally, fast bowlers are injury-prone. However, West Indian right-arm fast, Cecil, just continues to run hard and has made a deal with his telomeres to slow down the aging clock.
About his fitness regimen, he reflected, "To be honest I eat anything that's going but I don't drink much, just the odd beer. And I keep fit, although these days I use my age as an excuse to miss training. I find keeping active helps to ease aches and pains. I don't like to sit still and watch TV, I would rather have a walk or potter about in the garage.
"Pretty good going," stated cricket Bible Wisden while referring to Wright's endurance and love for the game.
The Jamaican anomaly, who has defied his age, will bring down the final curtain on his unique career on Saturday, September 7, turning out for Uppermill, near Oldham, against Pennine League side Springhead