Former T&T cricketer Sheldon Gomes has been hailed “as an excellent team man with an infectious personality” by former West Indies wicket-keeper Deryck Murray. Gomes, who is the older brother of former West Indies cricketer Larry Gomes, passed away at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday. He was 69 years old just over a month shy from celebrating his 70th birthday.
Widely regarded as one of the best fielders to have played the game in this country, Gomes represented T&T at the First-Class level 55 times. He scored five centuries and 45 half-centuries. He also played 14 List A matches for this country.
Murray, who played with Gomes in the T&T team of the 1970s said, “What really stands out for me about Sheldon is that he was an excellent team man. There was nothing that he wouldn’t do to help the team and no matter what the situation was. He was always cheerful, always enthusiastic and eager to get on with the game and he had this infectious personality that it was great to be around him in the dressing room.”
Murray also expanded on Gomes’ fielding prowess saying: “I think he was a brilliant fieldsman in any position and he was one of those people who would volunteer to go to bat-pad or silly point in the days when protection wasn’t around in the game so it was just share bravery. He was the one to do it.”
Gomes also had the distinction of being in the regional championship winning team when T&T copped the Shell Shield Tournament in 1975. His highest score of 213 was recorded against Jamaica in the 1976-1977 season which incidentally was his most prolific in regional cricket when he chalked up 633 runs for an impressive average of 70.33 per innings with three centuries.
He also played for North, East Trinidad and Queen’s Park Cricket Club.
President of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) Azim Bassarath also extended his condolences and Cricket West Indies, on the passing of Gomes describing him as a gifted cricketer whose exploits especially in the field added an exciting dimension to the game.
“You were always sure that something could happen when Sheldon Gomes was prowling in the covers or fielding close up to the batsman as he possessed the safest pair of hands, and a quick turn of foot that left no ball struck by the batsman unchallenged within range,” said Bassarath.
Among his peers in his First-Class career from 1969 to 1983 were many other standout cricketers of the era including Bernard Julien, Rangy Nanan (deceased), Kenrick Bainey, Dudnath Ramkessoon, Imtiaz Ali, Raphick Jumadeen, Prince Bartholomew (deceased) and Inshan Ali (deceased).