Morton’s widow, Liselle Phillip-Morton, was presented with the cheque by members of the Windies team. New Zealand all-rounder Kyle Mills also gave her his Number 37 jersey to Mrs. Morton, as his and his team’s way of recognizing the contribution made to cricket by her late husband.
Mrs. Morton was the special guest of Dr Julian Hunte, President of the West Indies Cricket Board, who also participated in the ceremonies shortly after the match that saw the visiting team defeat the West Indies in a one sided affair. Mrs. Morton was specially flown in to St. Kitts for the occasion.
Before play, the players, team officials and match officials held a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to the well-liked Morton, who died in March at age 33.
The West Indian players also wore a special Number 37 jersey, to remember their fallen colleague. That was the number previously used by Morton when he played for the West Indies team.
Thousands of fans stayed behind to witness the post-match ceremony, perhaps as their way of also recognizing Morton’s contribution to the Caribbean side.
Though the West Indian team lost, the game would be remembered by many for the great gesturer by the West Indian players. Not all players however contributed to the US$4,000 that was given.
“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,” said West Indies Captain Darren Sammy in an interview.
Morton, the right-hander batsman, born on July 22nd in Nevis was involved in a tragic road accident in March 2012, when his car crashed into a utility pole, leading to immediate death. The former Windies player was on his way home from a cricket match in his adopted country, Trinidad.
Amongst the large crowd on hand to witness the game was the Premier of Nevis, Joseph Parry, himself a former cricketer for Nevis. Parry lauded the West Indies team for dedicating a day to the memory of Runako Morton, who once shared the dressing room with most of the current players.
Premier Parry said he believes the financial gesture is an ideal way to pay tribute to a former player and it is an excellent model for a team to remember their late colleague, who passed leaving a young family to mourn.
Long after making his debut in First-Class cricket back in 1996, Morton finally made his ODI debut for the West Indies against Pakistan in 2002 and three years later, got his Test cap against Sri Lanka in 2005.
Runako, a top-order batsman, in a career spanning over eight years, played 15 Tests, 56 ODI’s and 7 T20Is for his team, and last appeared for his country against Australia in a T20I in 2010. Despite having huge potential as a batsman, the right-hander underachieved in a short Test career, scoring 573 runs at an average of 22.03.