Head coach of Jamaica's senior women's cricket team Cleon Smith has died. Smith's family confirmed to Radio Jamaica Sports that the 60 year old passed away on Thursday afternoon after a brief illness. Smith last appeared on TVJ's Eye on Sports programme on March 5, looking back at the West Indies performance at the ICC Women's World Cup.
An emotional West Indies and Jamaica team captain, Stafanie Taylor told Radio Jamaioca Sports she was still processing the news of the death of the coach with whom she shared a close relationship despite the amount of time she spent travelling with the Windies.
She described Smith's death as a massive blow to the fraternity. Taylor added that her teammates have taken the news badly.
Meanwhile, CEO of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), Courtney Francis also offered condolences to the family of Smith. In a statement from the JCA, Francis said: "It is quite a sad day for us at the JCA and across the local cricket landscape. Jamaica's cricket was better off for his years of dedicated service. Our thoughts and prayers are with the senior women's team in this moment and we will reach out to provide support for them as they would be the hardest hit within the national programme. To his family, we extend our deepest condolences. We are with you in this period of grief and we will be a pillar of strength on which you can lean”.
Smith who also coached in St Ann, led the national women's team to numerous regional titles with their most recent coming in 2018 when they won the Twenty20 title at Sabina Park.
He is survived by twin daughters and a son. Smith had been coach of the national women’s team for more than 10 years.