Black History Month: Nixon McLean – The Cult Hero Who Gave Something Back
The first time that many Somerset supporters became aware of Nixon McLean was in early May 1998.
He was playing for Hampshire in a 50-over game at Taunton and he hit 28 off the last five balls of Andy Caddick’s final over! Little did they know at the time, but supporters were looking at a man who would soon become a Somerset cult hero.
The tall West Indian paceman was born at Stubbs on the island of St Vincent in 1973, and according to legend he trained himself to bat left handed to enable him to hit the ball to leg without breaking any of the windows that were on the opposite side of the road where he lived. That certainly helped him to take advantage of the short boundaries on that day at Taunton 25 years ago!
Nixon went on to play representative cricket for St Vincent and the Grenadines with considerable success and he was rewarded with a call up to the West Indies One-Day International team where he made his debut in 1996.
Two years later the right-arm paceman joined Hampshire where he played during the 1998 and 1999 seasons, taking 108 First Class wickets at an average of 30 as well as 51 limited over scalps.
In 2003 Somerset were looking to replace the long serving Graham Rose, who had retired at the end of the previous season, and signed Nixon. The start of that campaign was particularly cold and many will remember Nixon wearing layer upon layer of sweaters to try to keep himself warm.
That first season saw Nixon play in 17 of the 18 Championship matches in which he took 65 wickets at an average of 28.80. He claimed five-wicket hauls on three occasions with a best of five for 43 against Glamorgan at Taunton.
The following season he appeared in 10 of the 16 Championship games, taking 46 wickets at 26.21. He claimed his best Somerset figures of six for 79 against Yorkshire in July of that year at Scarborough. He followed that up with five for 45 in the second innings, giving him match figures of 11 for 124 as Somerset notched up a 10 wicket victory.
In 2005 Nixon played in five out of the opening seven County Championship fixtures and took 11 wickets at an average of 39.54 with a best of three for 107. Nixon’s stay at Taunton came to an end that winter as the Club placed the emphasis on giving the younger players their opportunity.
During his time with Somerset the popular West Indian played in 33 first class matches and claimed 120 wickets at an average of 29.22.
When his playing days came to an end, Nixon joined the board of the West Indies Retired Players Foundation, a group designed to improve the game at domestic level through the help of former players.
During his career he played in 19 Tests and 45 ODIs claiming a total of 90 wickets across the two formats.
He will be remembered by Somerset Members as a cult hero with a winning smile and the ability to bowl extremely fast!