(CMC) – Irvine Shillingford, the first Dominican to represent the West Indies, passed away on Thursday.
It is understood that Shillingford died in hospital in Dominica after ailing for some time. He was 78.
A right-hander with much potential, Shillingford played only four Tests and two One-Day Internationals for West Indies during the 1970s, managing to score a hundred against Pakistan in Georgetown in only his second Test.
In paying tribute, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit labelled Shillingford a “true icon” who had been a pioneer for Dominican cricketers.
“We have lost a true icon who brought great joy to the cricket-loving Dominican public. He stood as an example of all that was achievable for Dominican players of the most beloved sport in the West Indies,” Skerrit said in a statement.
“He was the first Dominican to play for the West Indies Cricket team and is still the only one to have scored a test century. For an all too brief moment, he represented the dreams and aspirations of many Dominican cricketers who hoped to achieve similar glory,” the prime minister added.
Continuing Skerrit said: “He never lost his love for the game, leading his local club, Cavaliers, well into his 60s and inspiring young cricketers to pursue their own passions in the sport. He also served for many years as a national selector.”
“Irving Shillingford was a source of pride for all of us and his name is forever etched in the minds and hearts of the Dominican people. We will continue to honour his memory and celebrate his legacy. On behalf of the Government and People of Dominica, I extend sincere and heartfelt condolences to his family and others who mourn his passing,” Skerrit stated.
Shillingford made his first-class debut at age 16 but had to wait another 16 years before making his Test debut against Pakistan in Port of Spain in 1977, alongside the vaunted likes of Alvin Kallicharan, Gordon Greenidge and Vivian Richards in a side led by Clive Lloyd.
His debut was a quiet one but he shone in the next Test when he stroked 120 in a drawn encounter.
Following the fourth Test of the five-match series, Shillingford’s next appearance for the West Indies was a year later, making three and 16 in the third Test against Australia in Georgetown.
He played a single ODI afterwards and never featured again.