Brian Close was expected to be captain but, after his alleged time-wasting
in the Warwickshire v Yorkshire county match
at Edgbaston, M.C.C. ruled him out of the tour on 21 August. The Chairman of
Selectors admitted that Close would have been skipper but for this incident,
so Cowdrey became captain by default.
He viewed the West Indies tour as the beginning of a campaign challenging,
firstly, West Indies on their home pitches, then Australia
at home and away, and finally South
Africa, also twice. However, the captain
could never have foreseen how being deprived of so many key players would wreck
his planning. On this tour Fred Titmus lost four toes in a boating accident.
West Indies had the
best all-round cricket team in the world but the first three Test matches
were drawn. The first at Bridgetown England might
have won. West Indies fell just short of the
follow-on target and, when Dave Brown took three wickets in an over just
before tea, were 180-8 but held out for a draw.
It was England’s
turn to hold out for a draw at Kingston,
having made all the running when Snow’s fast bowling forced West
Indies to follow on again and then lose five wickets with an
innings’ defeat still in sight. A crowd disturbance, and the police response
with tear gas, interrupted England
when they were on top and next day, set 158 to win, England collapsed
Another draw followed at Bridgetown
before Sobers, in an optimistic gamble, declared at Port
of Spain, thinking he could spin England out before they could
score 215 on the last afternoon of the 4th Test.England won with three minutes to
spare, and then got away with a tense draw in the final Test to take the
rubber one-nil and win the Wisden Trophy for the first time.
Doug Insole (chairman),Alec Bedser, Peter May,Don Kenyon, David Clark, Arthur Gilligan (sitting in for Gubby Allen,
who was in hospital with an arthritic hip), Colin Cowdrey and Billy Griffith.
Unavailable : Bob Barber (business), Mike Smith
(temporary retirement for business reasons),
Not considered:John Price was injured and Barry Knight still playing 2nd XI
cricket while qualifying for Leicestershire
The M.C.C. committee ruled
out Brian Close from the captaincy, and then invited Colin Cowdrey to
become captain on 27 August, but did not announce it until 30 August.
Tour party announced : 30 August 1967.
Not selected:Derek Underwood,Geoff Arnold.
Time between selection and departure from England
(30 August - 27 December)
On 27 December 1967 the team flew from Heathrow
to Bridgetown, Barbados.
As M.C.C. flew in to Seawell
Airport at 7:50 pm on
27 December, the Speedbird steelband welcomed them.Lance Gibbs was also flying in on the same B.O.A.C.
Time spent in West
December -4 April)
Colin Cowdrey (captain), Fred Titmus (vice-captain), Les Ames (manager).
Tom Graveney later joined the selectors
G A R Lock
Finger-spinner brought his aggressive attacking approach from Australia -
as well as making his highest score in Tests
Lock, now a Western Australia
player, was called in to the side for Fred
Titmus who lost four toes of his left foot in a boating accident before
match. Lock arrived on the penultimate day of the third Test.
Titmus left for London
on Thursday 7 March. Tom Graveney took over the vice-captaincy.
After the final Test at Bourda a crowd attacked the M.C.C. team
as their bus left the ground. Tony Lock was hit by a stone, and the police
had to escort them to their hotel.
The team flew out of Atkinson Air Field, 30 miles from Georgetown, to Bridgetown
the next day, 4 April, and landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on Friday 5 April, Cowdrey
bringing the Wisden Trophy with him. Gary Sobers, who would be playing for
Nottinghamshire in 1968 was on the same plane.
Time away from England
December - 5 April 1968)
of the tour
"In the Main" by J S Barker (Pelham, 1968)
"The M.C.C. Tour of West Indies 1968” by Brian Close (Stanley Paul,
“Cricket in Three
Moods"by Henry Blofeld (Hodder
& Stoughton, 1970)