Imran Khan, West Indies Cricket Board Corporate Communications Officer, wrote a moving summary of the late West Indies, Leeward Islands and Trinidad and Tobago cricketer Runako Morton.
The best judgment of a man’s character is in his behavior when he feels that no one is watching. And Morton, according to Khan, was always a warrior.
“He played hard not because the television cameras were on,” said Khan, “he played hard because that is how Runako played.
“It was intensity or nothing.”
The 33-year-old Morton died last night in a road accident on the Solomon Hochoy Highway while he was driving to his Point Fortin home. Morton hit a pole and no other vehicle is known to have been involved.
The Nevis-born batsman has been a Queen’s Park Cricket Club member for the past six years and his employers expressed grief at his passing and extended sympathies to his wife, Liselle, and their three children.
“Runako has been a most positive influence on his younger teammates,” stated a QPCC release, “and was an inspiring team player with a strong fighting spirit. Like so many others he had his faults but he fought and conquered his indiscretions and he was a better man for it.
“He has always been a warm, good natured and sentimental person, generous in spirit, who gave one hundred per cent at all times towards the well-being of his fellow man.”
The cricketing world shared its grief online.
“Gone far too soon,” said QPCC captain and Trinidad and Tobago cricketer Justin Guillen, via Twitter. “Lost for words.”
Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies star Dwayne Bravo was also stunned at his passing.
“Last spoke to him on Saturday,” said Bravo. “He was in such a cheerful mood. I will miss him… Such a great guy.”
Another T&T cricketer, Rayad Emrit, said today was one of the saddest days of his life.
“I still can’t believe that you’re gone bro,” tweeted Emrit. “My prayers will always be with u Morton.”
Past and present West Indies captains Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy were unified in their opinions of Morton.
“We lost a true warrior (in) W.I Cricketer Runako Morton,” said Gayle. “May his soul rest in peace; our memories together live on!”
“A cricket warrior gone but not forgotten,” tweeted Sammy. “(He) played every game hard…”
Photo: Runako Morton
Barbadian pacer Tino Best hailed the passing of a great talent.
“I would have gone into battle each and every time with Runako,” said Best. “What a big heart he had… May God keep your family strong in this time; we had some good battles over the past 11 seasons.”
Further afield, dynamic ex-England captain and one of the world’s finest batsmen, Kevin Pietersen, also weighed in.
“My thoughts go out to Runako Morton’s family this morning,” said Pietersen, “such sad news!! What a lovely guy and fierce competitor! R.I.P. Bossman!”
Morton had a chequered disciplinary record for West Indies and Trinidad and Tobago but Khan said that his spirit would be sorely missed in the regional game.
“In training and even in matches I have seen many a cricketer throttle down; not Runako,” Khan told the WICB website. “Morton did not play soft cricket. He never really played cricket. He was at war when on the field…
“He was a warrior on the field but a man with a caring, soft heart off it… He feared no one, never backed down and would shed blood for his team. He may not have scored as many runs as his talent hinted he could but it was not for lack of effort.
“Not many warriors of his calibre are left. May his warrior spirit infect generations of West Indian cricketers to come.”
Dinanath Ramnarine, WIPA President and CEO: The news has stunned all of us in the regional and international cricketing fraternity. We will all miss him greatly.
Wavell Hinds, WIPA Vice President: Gone far too soon brother Runako. I will treasure the great memories for sure. R.I.P. God knows best.
Kirk Edwards, Barbados and WI batsman: A true champion and brother has gone to a better place never knew I had so much tears in me. Thanks for showing me so much light ‘Nako.
Pedro Collins, ex-WI cricketer: Deeply shocked by the death of my buddy and West Indies cricketer Runako Morton. RIP bro 🙁
Ravi Bopara, England all-rounder: Very sad to hear about Runako Morton’s tragic death. My deepest condolences to his friends & family. R.I.P. Morton.
David “Bumble” Lloyd, former England cricketer and international commentator: Terrible news re: Runako Morton… Very sad…
Mpumelelo Mbangwa, international cricket commentator: Rest In Peace Runako Morton. Sad.
Rajasthan Royals, IPL team: Sad to learn about the news of West Indian cricketer Runako Morton passing away in a car accident… R.I.P.!
Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL team: R.I.P. Runako Morton
Sterling Heyliger, President of the Nevis Cricket Association: He will be missed by the entire cricket fraternity, and friends and family alike. We wish the family all the best in the healing process.
Mark Brantley, Leader of the Opposition, Nevis: Last night Nevis was dealt a terrible blow when we heard of the tragic passing of Nevisian and West Indies batsman Runarko Morton in a car accident in Trinidad.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his mother Annette, his sister Midge, his wife Liselle and his children. Nevis is in mourning and my heart is heavy with sadness.