Kingston (Jamaica): Twenty-eight years after he hurt the Caribbean sentiments by leading two rebel tours to Apartheid-ruled South Africa, former West Indies cricketer Lawrence Rowe apologised after a pavilion was named in his honour at Sabina Park on Monday.
"Today, I sincerely apologise to the cricket fraternity of the Caribbean and the world," said the US-based Rowe.
The 62-year-old featured in 30 Test matches between 1972 and 1980, averaging 43.55 with the bat and scored seven centuries and seven half centuries. On Test debut, he scored 214 and 100 not out, a world record.
The former right-handed batsman, who migrated to the US following the rebel tours that created a furore, hoped that with his apology the tension will ease now.
"I`m happy that the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) can bestow this on me. Today is the final death of that tour. It was 28 years ago, and I don`t want to rehash a lot of that sort of situation right now. I want to move forward from now on, and what the JCA has done is to give me the opportunity to finally lay this thing to rest."
Rowe said he did not apologise earlier because of the bans players received.
"When this honour was bestowed on me, I felt that before I accept it that it was time to do this (apologise). At that time it was basically hostile (but) I`ve been back to Jamaica often. We (the players involved) have been reprieved," he said.
"One member of the team that I led to South Africa actually came back and played for the West Indies, so there was no need at that time to get out and do anything because the past is the past and that had gone by. I thought that before it (the naming of the pavilion) was done it would be time to apologise to the Jamaican people," he said.