BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) – The West Indies team has declared Wednesday “Runako Morton Day,” as they pay tribute to the late West Indies batsman who died in a car accident last March.
Captain Darren Sammy said the gesture was a mark of respect for the Leeward Islands and Trinidad and Tobago batsman who had made an important contribution to the side during a career that comprised 15 Tests, 56 One Day Internationals (ODI) and seven T20 Internationals.
West Indies face New Zealand in the third ODI of the five-match series at Warner Park on Wednesday.
“We want to show our appreciation for Runako, who was one of us and remains one of us. He played with most of the guys in the team, and he was loved by everyone. He was a real team player and gave his all for every team, every time he walked onto the field,” Sammy said on Monday.
“We know he was born in Nevis and played for Nevis before he played for Leewards and West Indies. During this series, we won’t be going to Nevis so we decided to pay tribute to Morton here in St Kitts, which is next door to Nevis.”
He added: “We thought this would be the ideal way to pay tribute. As players and as a team we are fully in support of this initiative as we remember a man who has been a great team-mate and a brother.
“It will be a big occasion on Wednesday as we remember Morton while we look to win, make it three on a trot, and take the series.”
Sammy and vice-captain Dwayne Bravo will go the extra step of donating their match fees to Morton’s wife.
Morton died at age 33, when his car crashed along the Uriah Butler Highway in Trinidad and Tobago, as he returned home after representing Queen’s Park in a cricket match.
Morton, who resided in Trinidad, left to mourn his wife Leiselle and three children, Kalika, Macario and Demica-Dior.
Wednesday has also been declared a Public Holiday by the St Kitts and Nevis government and Sammy called on fans to support the Windies as they chased a series-winning 3-0 lead in the series.
“Wednesday will be a chance to clinch the series, so we will look to do that and take the series at Warner Park. We are enjoying our success. Everybody looks in good form, and every day someone stands up for us which is good for the team,” Sammy said.
“We always enjoy cricket in St Kitts and we know the people will come out and support us. Normally the pitch is very good and the outfield is very fast.”
He continued: “The last home series we had against Australia the home support was magnificent and we also got massive support from the fans in Florida and Jamaica. When you look into the crowd and see the fans cheering, it’s like an extra player.
“We expect the same here in St Kitts and we know the people will come out and support their team.”
West Indies won the opening ODI by nine wickets last Thursday at Sabina Park and the second game by 55 runs at the same venue last Saturday.