Former West Indies cricket team’s star wicket-keeper Jeffrey Dujon and all-rounder John Shepherd top this year’s class of inductees into the Cricket Hall of Fame. They will be joined by five other local individuals: Roselyn Emmanuel, Ivy Mahabir, P. K. Guha, New York Public Schools Athletic League’s administrators Lorna Austin and Bassett Thompson, who will be honored for making outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the sport in the schools in New York.
Born on May, 28, 1956, Dujon who made his Test debut in 1981 against the Australians was the gymnastic hub of the all conquering West Indies side that was led by Clive Lloyd. He was competent not just behind the stumps, but also more than handy with the bat in the lower order. He was a man who never participated in a losing series.
Shepherd, born in Belleplaine, St. Andrew, Barbados, had the ambition to represent the West Indies from when he was a youngster, but put his education first with the intent of becoming a primary school teacher. He played the game for his village and school. In his final year at school, he was selected to play with the official all-school Barbados team. Following his performance against a visiting English team he was urged by Sir Everton Weekes to consider playing county cricket in England, which he accepted and became one of the first West Indians to go to England specifically to play county cricket.
Emannuel, a true player, advocate and enthusiast of the game has represented not only her native country St. Lucia, but also the West Indies Women’s Cricket team. In the 1990s she represented the West Indies in the International Cricket Council’s women’s World Cup. She has also captained the USA national team as well as an ICC American Women’s XI and has played significant roles in the development of women’s cricket in New York.
A founding member of a women’s cricket club in the U.S., Mahabir is a woman who it is said eats, sleeps and dreams cricket. She has worked tirelessly to promote the growth and development of the game in the US. Whether it’s scoring, umpiring, playing or coaching, she is always involved with cricket. The only thing that she has done in the sport is commentate.
Guha, who was born in India, was destined to be around cricket as he had the fortunate occurrence of being born near Eden Garden, the home of the national cricket club. PK as he is affectionately called, migrated to the U.S. in 1974, and it did not take him too long before he became active in the development of the sport here. He also served with the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) for some time.
The Executive Administrative Assistant at the Public Schools Department of Education (PSAL) in New York, in addition with her administrative duties, Austin has served as the Cricket Coordinator. A native of Barbados, her office was responsible for coordinating all Intramural sports in the Junior High Schools and it was through her efforts that cricket is now a popular event in the schools.
Jamaican native Bassett Thompson, began his career in track and field as a PSAL meet director, but his roots is just as deep in cricket as it is on the track. “While I was growing up track and field and cricket were two of my favorite sports,” he said. “The sports god must be favoring me because I now get to work in the sports that I love.”