International Cricket Council President Percy Sonn and his predecessors, including India's Jagmohan Dalmiya, have paid tributes to former ICC Chairman and West Indies cricketing great Clyde Walcott who passed away on Saturday. He was aged 80.
"This news has saddened me greatly as cricket has not only lost a legend but also someone who devoted his life to the betterment of our great game," Sonn said.
"I never saw him play but people whose opinions I value have confirmed his greatness to me and his figures, with a Test average of more than 56 runs per innings, which means he will rightly be remembered as a giant on the field," he said in a statement issued on Sunday.
Sonn said Walcott was instrumental in bringing South Africa back into international cricket in 1991.
"As an administrator, Sir Clyde was thoughtful and conciliatory and cricket in my homeland of South Africa owes him an enormous debt because he was instrumental in ensuring our return to the international fold in 1991."
Walcott was the ICC Chairman from 1993-97, succeeding Cowdrey before handing over the reigns to Dalmiya when the role became known as president.
Dalmiya offered heartfelt praise for Sir Clyde.
"Sir Clyde Walcott was a great cricketer and an equally great administrator and he provided tremendous leadership to ICC," Dalmiya said.
Walcott's Test career spanned from 1948 to 1960 during which he played 44 matches. A right-hander, he scored 3798 runs at 56.68.
He was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1958, received an OBE in 1966 and was knighted in 1994. He also served as an ICC Match Referee in 1992, officiating in three Tests between England and Pakistan.
Sonn's immediate predecessor Ehsan Mani was also glowing in his tributes for Walcott.
"He was not only one of the greatest-ever post-War cricketers but also one of the finest people I have ever had the opportunity of working with," said Mani.
"He took over as ICC Chairman at a critical time in the history of the organisation and he succeeded in not only keeping it together but also enhancing it."
"Sir Clyde played a crucial role in shaping the ICC and for that, together with his lifetime of service to cricket, he has earned the unending thanks of a grateful game."
Malcolm Gray of Australia, who headed the ICC from 2000-03, paid a generous tribute, too.
"Sir Clyde Walcott was a good friend and a great chairman of ICC. He was a true gentleman who was highly adept at calming troubled waters," Gray said.
"He was a gentle but decisive man for whom cricket always came first and his own ego last."