final honour: Former West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara, right, assists in carrying the casket bearing the body of cricketer Runako Morton, under an honour guard of cricket bats, following yesterday's funeral service at the First Church of the Open Bible, Ruth Avenue, San Fernando. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

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'Friends turned their backs on Runako'

By Susan Mohammed susan.mohammed@trinidadexpress.com

WEST INDIES Players Association (WIPA) president Dinanath Ramnarine yesterday remembered cricketer Runako Morton as a man of legendary loyalty and selflessness to friends and team mates, but who was left with little support in time of trouble and controversy.

Morton was killed in a highway crash on March 4.

Ramnarine was one of several speakers at the First Church of the Open Bible at San Fernando, where a memorial was held for Morton.

Ramnarine said some friends and cricket organisations for which Morton played turned their backs on him when he needed their support.

Also attending the memorial were past and present cricketers, including Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Adrian Bharath.

Ramnarine said professional sportsmen face temptations, dangers and seduction, which could cause them to betray themselves, their game, their ideals and their country.

Morton was charged with marijuana possession and held as a suspect in a stabbing during his career, but was planning a comeback at the time of his death.

Ramnarine said, "We go through the whole cycle, from hero to zero. This rapid change is not easy to manage if the rest of your life is in turmoil.

"However, we believe although there were times when Runako may have strayed off the straight and narrow path, he should never have been written off by those for whom he played, and by those who he represented."

Ramnarine credited the Queen's Park Cricket Club (QPCC), the last team for which Morton played.

Morton, 33, and QPCC were victorious in a match on March 4 at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain, and he was returning to his Princes Town home on the same night when he was killed.

The father of three crashed into a utility pole near the Chase Village flyover along the Solomon Hochoy Highway, and later died at the Chaguanas Health Facility.

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