Bonitto's innings comes to an end

Published: Saturday | January 19, 2013 Comments 0

Tony Becca, Contributing Editor

Jamaica lost one of its favourite and most successful cricketers, following the death of Neville Bonitto in Fort Lauderdale on Monday evening.

Bonitto, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, was in the hospital for one week, was sent home and died in a hospice a few days later.

A tall right-hander, Bonitto represented Melbourne Cricket Club for many years and also Jamaica for 10 years - between 1947 and 1957 - in 17 matches, scoring 1,413 runs at an average of 58.88.

He scored four centuries, including 207 not out versus British Guiana at Bourda in October, 1952, while sharing a fifth-wicket partnership of 283 with Allie Binns, who scored 157, and six 50s for Jamaica.

Graceful player

He was a graceful, fleet-footed player and the hallmark of his batting were his drives off the front-foot on both sides of the wicket.

He never missed an opportunity to go after the spin bowler, to dance down the pitch.

Apart from his innings against British Guiana in 1952, Bonitto will be remembered for his assault against India's Subhash Gupte and Vinoo Mankad at Sabina Park in 1953, before he was stumped off Gupte for 74 out of an innings total of 194; for his innings of 110 not out against Wilfred Ferguson and Norman Marshall of Trinidad at Melbourne Park in 1955; and, batting in the company of Allan Rae, Easton McMorris, J. K. Holt, Collie Smith and Binns for his 129 out of 327 against the Duke of Norfolk in 1957.

His batting against left-hand spinner George Tribe and right-arm leg-spinners Tommy Greenhough and Dougie Wright on that day was exemplary.

That was his last innings for Jamaica before he migrated to the USA.

His cricketing career coincided with those of not only Rae, Holt and Ken Rickards, but also those of Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott and Gary Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Basil Butcher and Joe Solomon.

He is still considered, by many, as the best batsman never to have played for the West Indies.

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