The West Indies are about to play against England in England for the Wisden Trophy and we at SportsMax thought it may be interesting to look back at the best performances from the Caribbean side in that country.

The West Indies lead England in head to heads, 57-49, with 51 drawn games between the teams.

The teams began to play for the Wisden Trophy in 1963 and since then have won the series 14 times to England’s 10, though this year’s hosts have been dominant recently, save for last year when the West Indies wrested the trophy from them in a 2-1 win. There have been three drawn series since 1963.

But performing in England has always been tough and good performances there have always been counted at a premium, living in the memories of batsmen, bowlers and fans for a very very long time.

Here are the performances that stand out in my mind, tell me if you have others you remember. Comment on these performances on Facebook or Twitter, I wouldn’t mind the trip down memory lane.

 

Best XI West Indian performances in England

 

Allan Rae and Frank Worrell lay into England (The Oval 1950)

Centuries from Allan Rae and Frank Worrell helped the West Indies to win their first series against England in England.

The West Indies would end up winning the series 3-1 but that was set up from the first innings of the first Test where, electing to bat first, Rae bat for five hours to score 109, while Worrell, batting at number three, did the same to score 138.

The West Indies would go on to score 503, before limiting England to 344 and 103 to win by an innings and 56 runs.

 

Sobers goes on show, Charlie Griffiths works up a head of steam (Headingley (1963)

Sir Garfield Sobers scored 102 against England at Headingley as the West Indies won the fourth Test of their 1963 series against England, setting up a first-innings total of 397, which quickly turned into a 223-run lead thanks to Charlie Griffiths’ 6-36. The performances set up a 221-run victory and the series would end 3-1 in favour of the visitors.

 

Lance Gibbs turns Old Trafford on its head (Old Trafford, 1966)

In 1966 Lance Gibbs was the greatest spinner in the world and England crumbled at the feet of his twirling in the first Test of their series. Following on from Garfield Sobers’ 161 in a first innings at Old Trafford where the West Indies scored 484, Gibbs’ 5-37 left England flapping at 167 all out. The follow-on didn’t go any better for the hosts, with Gibbs bagging 5-69 from a marathon 41 overs of bowling. The West Indies would go on to win that 1966 series 3-1.

 

Lloyd, Boyce take over the Oval (The Oval, 1973)

Cllive Lloyd scored 132 in the first innings of the first Test at The Oval in 1973, but that was just part of the story of the way the West Indies dominated made their way to a 158-run victory and a 2-0 series win against England. Keith Boyce only played 21 Tests for the West Indies over the course of four years but in 1973 England had no answer to him. Lloyd’s Innings proved the catalyst fo the West Indies’ 415-run first innings byt then Boyce returned to bag 5-70 to restrict England to 257 and give the visitors a decided advantage. The West Indies would quickly score 255 before Boyce was back at it again, taking 6-77 on the way to dismissing England for 255.

 

VIV Richards shows complete dominance (Trent Bridge, 1976)

Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards is a name that really needs no introduction and England would feel the brunt of his brutality on many occasions. In 1976, the West Indies won a five-Test series in England 3-0, but Richards was dominant from ball one. Batting at his customary number three in the first Test of the series, Richards would help the West Indies to 494 runs in a first innings where he slammed 232. When England responded with 332 in their first innings, the West Indies needed to score quick runs so they could declare with enough time to bowl England out a second time. Richards obliged with 63 and even though the match ended in a draw, the performance of the Master Blaster.

 

Gordon Greenidge puts his name in the Lord’s book in emphatic style  (Lord’s 1984)

The second Test of a series against England at Lord’s had a number of brilliant performances from both teams. England’s Graeme Fowler had scored a fighting 106 in his side’s 286. The low total was brought about by Malcolm Marshall’s special bowling performance of 6-85. That bowling performance was superseded by Ian Botham’s 8-103 to help restrict the West Indies to 245. In the second innings, England declared on 300-9 thanks to Allan Lamb’s 110. Chasing 341 in the second innings, Gordon Greenidge eclipsed all those performances with a sparkling 214 not out, as the West Indies romped to 344-1 in just 66.1 overs. Larry Gomes got a front seat to the action, scoring 92. The West Indies would go on to win the series 5-0.

 

Malcolm Marshall leaves England a little short (Lord’s 1988)

From the lates 1970s until the mid-1990s the West Indies could depend on one part or another of their team to pull them out of tough situations. In the second Test of their 1988 Wisden Trophy series against England, they were up against it early with Gus Logie’s 81 helping the West Indies to just 209. But Malcolm Marshall proved that any total could be enough, destroying England with 6-32 and leaving the game well balanced and maybe giving the West Indies a slight advantage.

Gordon Greenidge’s 103 gave the West Indies a good lead headed into England’s second innings and despite Allan Lamb’s 113, Marshall’s brilliance meant they never got close. The West Indies won by 134 runs and Marshall took 4-60 to end with figures of 10-92.

 

The Ambrose and Walsh show take over Trent Bridge (Trent Bridge, 1991)

The West Indies conveyor belt of fastbowlers had begun to run dry by 1991 but they still had the services of Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Andrew Walsh and Curtly Ambrose. And while they would lose the Wisden Trophy to England that year, there was one Test at Trent Bridge where Ambrose and Walsh reminded the world of the great days of fastbowling and pointed to what would become the most successful opening bowling partnership in World cricket for the next 10 years. In the first innings, led by Graeme Gooch’s 68, England scored 300 all out, but it would have been a much higher total had it not been for 34 overs from Ambrose that yielded 5-74. The West Indies would go into the second innings with a healthy 97-run lead, thanks in large part to Viv Richards’ 80. When England bat again, Walsh made sure the West Indies would not have much to chase, bagging 4-64. In that England second innings, Ambrose had 3-61.

 

Richie Richardson plays anchor role (Edgbaston, 1991)

Richie Richardson had the reputation for being an aggressive batsman, who hooked and pulled his way out of trouble for the most part, but at Edgbaston, in 1991 a different type of batsman was called for. England had been dismissed for 188 courtesy of Malcolm Marshall, 4-33, and Curtly Ambrose, 3-64. But the West Indies were in trouble with the bat as well, with Chris Lewis running rampant for England with 6-111. Standing in the way though, Richardson, recognizing that wickets were falling all around him, faced 229 deliveries to score 104, his strike rate of 45.41, unusually low for his aggressive nature. The innings helped the West Indies to 292 and set up a seven-wicket win  

 

Lara’s 179, Hooper’s 127 keeps things even against England (Kennington Oval, 1995)

With the six-Test series tied at 2-2 headed into the final game, the West Indies, a team in decline by 1995, needed to make sure they did not lose.

England had scored 454 thanks to Graeme Hick’s 96 and despite Curtly Ambrose’s 5-96. Replying, the West Indies scored 692-8, building a lead of  238 to make sure the game could not be lost. The total is still the biggest without featuring a double-century from a batsman, but there was still much brilliance on show. Brian Lara for instance, scored a masterful 179 from just 206 deliveries, slamming 26 fours and a six. But Lara didn’t have to do it alone, with Carl Hooper scoring 127, skipper Richie Richardson, scoring 93, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, scoring 80, and Sherwin Campbell scoring 89. As a team, that was probably the last time the West Indies showed complete dominance with the bat in England.

 

Shai Hope becomes an immortal at Headingley (Headingley 2017)

Still a growing team, the West Indies unit that went to England in 2017 were expected to be thrashed and they were. While the defeat in the three-Test series was only 2-1, and the a result came down to the final Test, the truth is the teams were world’s apart. In that second Test though, the West Indies learned they could not only compete, but they could win in England. Ben Stokes had scored a century to prop up England’s first innings at 258, as Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach with four wickets apiece gave West Indies real hope. Then Kraigg Brathwaite with 134 and Shai Hope with 147, pushed the West Indies advantage, the innings ending at 427. England were up against it but batted well to score 490-8 and give the West Indies a serious total to chase. Again, Brathwaite and Hope were on show. Brathwaite fell for 95, agonizingly close to a second century in the match, but there was no stopping Hope, who was unbeaten at the end, scoring 118to lead the West Indies to 322-5 and a famous victory.

Every now and then I need a good laugh. You know the hearty ones that make it difficult to speak or even breathe? Cringey American Idol auditions do that for me. They’re my guilty pleasure. While I watch contestants confidently sing off-key, I consider many things. Things like, did the contestants consult friends before auditioning? If they did, it’s likely that their friends weren’t being honest.

As of late, it seems like lovers of sports are longing for a chance to laugh too. They miss the excitement of live games; the highs, the lows and the unforeseen. To compensate, some are forced to watch reruns while others recollect fond memories of sports on social media. Almost immediately, I started scrolling through their virtual memory lane. I didn’t have to scroll far before I saw someone confess to missing, “NBA players missing a free throw and then high-fiving all their teammates.”

After reading it again and again, I could see how similar it was to my guilty pleasure. If he’s no good at free throws why high-five him?

I wanted to see it in action for myself. My search revealed numerous videos of Andre Drummond. Drummond is an American basketball player who was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2012. One specific video showed him missing several free throws at games in the 2017/18 NBA season. Nevertheless, his teammates kept high-fiving him. Here’s why I think high-fiving players who miss free throws doesn't work.

First of all, viewers are going to wonder what the hell is wrong with a team that doesn't mind losing. They may get the impression that you don’t know what a high-five is. A high five is a mini celebration. It’s done when someone accomplishes something. Missing a free throw is not an accomplishment. It’s time for improvement and the player missing the free throws deserves to know that.

Sometimes, players get not one, but two or even three chances at a free-throw. When they miss the first one, they go in for a high-five. But then they miss a second and go in for another high five. Somebody is getting duped. Either the teammates or the person missing the free throws isn’t seeing the plot. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice …

Naturally, teammates want to encourage each other on the court, I get that. But here’s the thing about hope. Hope is a future concept. It cannot be true, it can only become true. Neither can hope be false, it can only turn out to be false. A high-five, in this case, is a gesture of hope. Teammates hope that the player will make the next free throw. Still, there’s a probability that what is being hoped for (successful free throws) will not happen. It leaves too much room for disappointment.

I think high-fives are also a way of sparing the free thrower's feelings. We are all guilty of it. We’re afraid of hurting other people's feelings. Take, for instance, a couple going out on a date. The woman gets dolled up, she feels iffy about her outfit. She proceeds to ask her partner for their opinion. “Does this dress make me look fat?” Her partner responds and says the dress suits her well. During the date, the woman’s dress rips because the fabric was under too much pressure. Chances are the woman will doubt her partner’s opinion the next time around, if she even asks for their opinion again. Similarly, sparing the feelings of the player can backfire and affect relationships within the team.

High-fiving players who miss free throws can give the impression that they’re doing their best.  For me, you have to be aware of your faults and flaws to improve them. When you believe that you’re doing okay, you will disregard opportunities for improvement. Being stagnant can leave you with humiliating results.

Let me skip over to cricket for an example of this. Courtney Walsh, one of the greatest pace bowlers of all time used to get cheered for surviving a ball when he bat. Or for leaving the ball alone, can you believe it, leaving the ball alone. The result, Walsh never learned to bat. Never tried very hard at it and today holds the record for the most ducks in the history of Test cricket. Imagine that!.

Drummond improved his free throws drastically but some may not be as fortunate as him.

NBA players missing free throws and then high-fiving all their teammates is a no-no for me. I am not a fan.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

The longtime ethos of hard work bringing forth success is perfectly exemplified in Courtney Andrew Walsh, West Indies’ all-time leading wicket-taker in Test cricket and at one time world record holder.

Walsh was the first bowler over 500 wickets in the history of the game, but that honour came from being the man who the West Indies used to use to plug overs. Initially, Walsh was a back-up bowler, who would do the hard work of running into the wind while preferred specialists like Malcolm Marshall or Michael Holding and even Sir Curtly Ambrose ran in with the wind at their backs.

Doing that kind of work made the wiry Walsh strong and when it was finally his time to be the strike bowler, he had the added benefit of being able to run in for almost inhumanly long spells at high pace to boot.

Walsh formed one of the games great opening partnership with Ambrose, the two accounting for 421 Test wickets between them in just 49 outings.

Walsh was also a man of very strong character, something that belied his almost jovial nature. It would seem that nothing mattered to him but the truth was anything but.

He loved bowling at the highest level and that may be why he did it for 17 years.

But never was that strength more called on than when the West Indies decided to drop him for the only time in his career.

Walsh had never been dropped at any level but his reaction was impressive. The pace bowler returned to first-class cricket in the West Indies and dominated proceedings, taking 30+ wickets and forcing his way back into the Test side. Until his retirement in 2001, nobody has ever dared to think of dropping him again.

If it is hard to bowl well on a stacked team, it is even more difficult to do so on one that is in the habit of losing, yet in 2000, a year before his retirement and at 37 years old, Walsh took 93 wickets, the most in the world that year. Two pacers have since surpassed Walsh’s 519 wickets, in England’s James Anderson and Australia’s Glen McGrath, but they too are fine fast bowlers worthy of all-time great platitudes.

What is interesting is that the West Indies, despite its rich history of creating fast-bowling juggernauts, did not produce anybody, save Walsh’s partner in crime, Ambrose, to get close to Walsh’s massive haul. Ambrose ended his career with 405 wickets.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Courtney Andrew Walsh

Born: October 30, 1962, Kingston, Jamaica

Major teams: West Indies, Gloucestershire, Jamaica

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

Test Career: West Indies (1984-2001)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs     Wkts   BBI      BBM     Ave     Econ    SR     4w    5w     10w

132    242      30019    12688     519      7/37   13/55    24.44   2.53     57.8   32     22        3

 

Career Highlights

  • Held record for most wickets in Tests (2000-04)
  • First bowler to reach 500 wickets
  • 3rd most wickets by a fast bowler
  • Best match figures as captain (13/55)

Jimmy Adams never made our Jamaican BestXI West Indies Championship team and that may be the most unfortunate omission of the lot, with others like Alfred Valentine, Nehemiah Perry, Roy Gilchrist, and Alan Rae also missing the cut.

However, there is no doubt that Jimmy is one of the finest competitors the West Indies has produced and his efforts slowed a degradation in the region’s cricketing fortunes in no uncertain terms.

On May 29, 2000, on the final day of a Test series against Pakistan in Antigua, visiting captain Moin Khan stood on the verge of history.

Moin was about to be the first Pakistan captain to win a series in the Caribbean. But Jimmy, the captain of the West Indies at the time, stood in his way.

Pakistan would eventually earn a series victory in the Caribbean, the hosts capitulating almost 20 years later, but on that day, Jimmy was determined not to suffer the ignominy of losing at home.

The three-Test series was tied at 0-0, making the final Test very much a final.

Pakistan had been sent into bat on the first day but had been bowled out early on the second morning for 269 on the back of Mohammad Yousuf’s unbeaten 103.

The West Indies hadn’t fared much better in their first innings, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s 89 and Jimmy’s 60 barely get them over the mark to be all out for 273. Jimmy had bat four hours for that 60, while Shiv’s defiance had lasted even longer, the Guyanese batsman holding out for five and a half hours.

I say holding out because Pakistani left-arm pacer, Wasim Akram, was in his element, taking 6-61 in that first innings to outdo Courtney Walsh’s 5-83 in the same stanza.

But Pakistan were in for more trouble in their second innings as the West Indies pairing of Curtley Ambrose (3-39) and Reon King (4-48), demicated the Pakistani lineup, restricting them to just 219. Inzamam-ul-Haq stood firm with a fighting 68 that included a pulled six through midwicket off Ambrose and Yousuf, who made 42.

Three days of the Test had elapsed and the West Indies had the two remaining to chase down 216 for victory. Seemed easy enough at the start, but on a wearing pitch and with masters of the art of bowling the reverse swing like Akram and Waqar Younis running in, who knows.

There was also the formidable spin threat of Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq as well as the dangerous, largely underrated Abdul Razzaq.

At the end of day four, the picture did not look any clearer, as Jimmy Adams on 15 would return on the final morning with the score on 144-4.

Openers Sherwin Campbell (6) and Adrian Griffith (23), had not given the middle order puch protection, but Wavell Hinds (63) and Shiv (31) had sought to restore some composure to the innings, but they too had fallen before the fourth day had ended, Akram the orchestrator of three of the four wickets.

Ramnaresh Sarwan was to enter the fray on the final morning and much was expected of him if the West Indies were to overhaul the 72 runs needed to win the match. A draw certainly wasn’t in question.

But Sarwan fell victim to the brilliant Akram, who snared his fourth wicket, getting the diminutive right-hander out leg before.

Ridley Jacobs then committed a sin early on the final morning, going run out for five. With Adams and the bowlers at the crease at 169-6, the West Indies were treading murky water.

Defeat was in the air, but so was Jimmy.

Franklyn Rose didn’t last long, waiting around for just 13 balls for his four runs, while Ambrose scored eight runs that included a six.

He was almost run out in the interim but it never mattered as Mushtaq would prove his undoing.

Things looked grim but the West Indies were getting ever closer.

Rose had gone at 177-7, and Sir Curtly had taken the Windies to 194-8.

King stayed around long enough for Jimmy to score a few runs and take the score to 197-9, but Akram struck again, bowling him all ends up as the pacer took an inelegant waft at a straight delivery.

Out came Courtney Walsh, who after his five-for in the first innings, and 1-39 from 20 miserly overs in the second, would not have expected to have more work to do, but he did.

The West Indies were still 19 runs adrift and nobody but nobody wanted to see Walsh, who had the unenviable record of not scoring on 36 occasions.

And Walsh could have, and likely should have been given out off the second ball he faced, as he was caught bat pad off the bowling of Mushtaq. Umpire Doug Cowie didn’t see it and there was no third umpire to plead Mushtaq’s case.

But Walsh would have to face more of Mushtaq because Jimmy was not letting him anywhere near Akram.

“When Walsh came in, I remember telling him that the only chance we had was for him not to face Wasim. He said fine, and that he would do the best he could against Saqlain or whoever else it was from the other end. I told him, "Look, either it will work or it won't work, but it's going to take time. I'm going to refuse runs because I'm going to try not to have you face Wasim," Jimmy recollected.

The crowd at the Antigua Recreation Ground gave Jimmy a hard time for refusing runs, booing and the like, but they never understood what he did and what he had the discipline to employ. Akram was a master and would not need too many deliveries to get rid of Walsh.

But calamity was never far away and Walsh and Jimmy ended up in the same crease during what should have been an easy run.

“I can't remember where the ball went. All I know is that Courtney was ball-watching. I just thought at some point he would actually look at me and run. I said to him, "Courtney, you've got longer legs than me, so you need to try and get up to the next end." And Courtney was telling me: "Well, I might have longer legs, but you are still quicker. So you give it your best shot."”

Fortunately, Mushtaq and Younis Khan conspired to miss the catch in the former’s case and throw poorly in the instance of the latter.

Adams, somewhere around 2pm on the final day, would dab a ball into the outfield with the scores tied and that would be the end of that.

Akram would end the game with 11 wickets, two short of 400, and Jimmy, in his second series as captain, was over the moon, scoring 60 and an unbeaten 48.

“For West Indies it was a good end to a very tight Test match. But I will never discuss that Test without paying tribute to Wasim. He is the best fast bowler I have ever played, not just in that Test, but in my career. I put more value on that 48 than probably most of my Test hundreds because of the situation, the pressure, the quality of the bowling,” Jimmy would say of the game years later.

The Caribbean has created many of the great cricketers in history and quite a number of them would have been greater still had they not had such keen competition for places in a stacked West Indies side.

A few weeks ago, we decided to have our own West Indies Championship featuring the all-time greatest sides from the region and a mouthwatering contest is set to unfold if you look at the teams we have come up with over the period.

Today we turn our attention to Jamaica, a country that has produced fast bowlers of the highest quality, but also every other type of cricketer you can think of. The country has had brilliant representation at the West Indies level behind the stumps, as well as with the bat.

As is usual, we invite your comments on the team we’ve selected because everybody has their favourites. For the purposes of consistency, we’ve made up the teams using six batsmen, a wicketkeeper, and four bowlers.

On occasion, somebody gets left out who people think it incredulous to do so. Do not hesitate to tell us where we went wrong by commenting under the article on Facebook or on Twitter.

 

BestXI: Jamaica

 

Chris Gayle 180 matches, 13,226 runs, 333 HS, 44.83 avg, 32 (100s), 64 (50s)

Christopher Henry Gayle’s fame and claim to greatness has come largely from his exploits in T20 cricket. However, the tall, powerful, imposing left-hander, even before that was one of the most dominant batsmen in Jamaica’s rich cricketing history. Gayle has scored more first-class runs than any cricketer the country has produced. His 13,226 runs have come at a healthy average of 44.83, only surpassed by Maurice Foster and the colossus of West Indies cricket, George Headley. Gayle has also scored 32 centuries in the format, again, the figure is only surpassed by Headley, who has 33. But Gayle stands alone in the number of half-centuries he has scored, slamming 64 of them.

 

Easton McMorris – 95 matches, 5906 runs, 218 HS, 42.18 avg, 18 (100s), 22 (50s)

Easton McMorris struggled for the West Indies when he got his chances at that level in the early 1960s, but for Jamaica, he was immense, averaging 42.18 as an opener and scoring 18 centuries and 22 fifties in just 95 matches, ending his career with 5,906 runs under his belt.

 

George Headley - 103 matches, 9921 runs, 344* HS, 69.86 avg, 33 (100s), 44 (50s)

George Headley needs no introduction really, his 22-match stint at the very top of cricket is legendary, but as a first-class cricketer, he was even more consistent, averaging nearly 70 over the course of 103 games. He scored 9,921 runs, including 33 centuries and 44 half-centuries.

 

Lawrence Rowe – 149 matches, 8755 runs, 302 HS, 37.57 avg, 18 (100s), 38 (50s)

Lawrence Rowe’s first-class average of 37.57 belies the impact he had on the game in Jamaica and certainly throughout the Caribbean. Crowds would come to regional matches just to see ‘Yagga’ bat. But he wasn’t bereft of runs when his career ended, scoring 18 centuries and 38 fifties from his 149 matches. The style with which he put together the majority of the 8,755 runs he scored was something to watch. According to teammate, Michael Holding, Rowe was the best batsman he ever saw. Unfortunately, Rowe was troubled with his eyesight, as well as an allergy to grass, of all things. That may have spoilt his performances somewhat, but at his best, there was no better batsman.

 

Maurice Foster 112 matches, 6731 runs, 234 HS, 45.17, 17 (100s), 35 (50s)

Maurice Foster was one of the most prolific runscorers in the 1960s and 70s and it was said, his ability to play fast bowling came from his love for table tennis where he was a West Indies champion at one time. In just 112 matches, Foster notched up 6,731 runs at an average of 45.17, only bettered by the great George Headley. In those six thousand plus runs can be found 17 first-class centuries and 35 half-centuries to boot.

 

Collie Smith 70 matches, 4031 runs, 169 HS, 40.31 avg, 10 (100s), 20 (50s)

Collie Smith died at the age of 26, but in that short time, the space between a boy and a man, he managed to score 10 centuries and 20 half-centuries in first-class cricket. Of course, by the time he was 26, his prodigious talent meant he had already represented the West Indies 26 times, scoring four centuries and six half-centuries. For Jamaica, he would play 70 times, amassing 4,031 runs at an average of 40.31.   

 

Jeffrey Dujon – 200 matches, 9763 runs, 163* HS, 39.05 avg, 21 (100s), 50 (50s)

A wicketkeeper averaging nearly 40 is a luxury. But his batting was only part of the story, as Dujon had to keep wicket for the West Indies during a period when it was notoriously difficult. Pace, real pace was hard to react to from behind the stumps but Dujon made his acrobatic catches so commonplace, they ceased to be a thing. At the first-class level, Dujon would claim 469 victims, 22 of those went to stumpings. But Dujon can also be proud of the 21 centuries he put together in 200 matches, as well as the 50 half-centuries that were part of his 9,763 runs with the bat.

 

Michael Holding – 222 matches, 778 wkts, 23.43 avg, 49.9 SR

The Rolls Royce of pace bowling, the man known as ‘Whispering Death’, has claimed 778 first-class wickets, standing only behind Courtney Walsh who had a markedly longer career. Holding would end his after 222 matches and his wicket tally would be taken at an average of 23.43 with a good strike rate of 49.9. A student of the game, Holding would outthink batsmen, even as he delivered with blistering pace that could shock you into doing altogether the wrong thing.

 

Courtney Walsh – 429 matches, 1,807 wkts, 21.71 avg, 47.2 SR

Courtney Walsh took a wicket every 47 balls during his long first-class career. That career would span 429 matches and include 1,807 wickets, making anything any Jamaican ever did with the ball, minuscule. His strike rate was better than Holding’s and so was his average. The stingy Walsh would only give up 21.71 runs for every wicket he took. A generally jovial, charismatic man, with ball in hand, he transformed into a bit of a grinch and is arguably the greatest pace bowler the country has produced.

 

Patrick Patterson – 161 matches, 493 wkts, 27.51 avg, 49.3 SR

Patrick Patterson drove fear into batsmen, even those who claim to like the quick stuff. Patterson, with his trademark shuffle to the crease and that high-lifting boot that would signal what’s to come, was devastating and on occasion, unplayably quick. He would end his 161-match first-class career with 493 wickets at an average of 27.51. His strike rate of 49.3 was also something to behold.

 

Nikita Miller – 100 matches, 538 wkts, 16.31 avg, 48.9 SR

Nikita Miller is the most prolific bowler in the history of Jamaican cricket. In just 100 first-class matches, Miller bagged 538 wickets at an average of 16.31. His strike rate of 48.9 is better than all his potential fast-bowling teammates. Miller has taken 10 wickets in a first-class innings on 12 occasions and also has 35 five-wicket hauls to go with the 36 occasions he took four in an innings. Between 2005 and 2019, Miller single-handedly orchestrated many of Jamaica’s victories. 

West Indies fast bowling legend Curtly Ambrose believes batting icon Brian Lara was in too much of a rush to claim the post of team captain, going on to find the task tougher than he expected.

Having previously played under another bowling great, Courtney Walsh, Lara officially took charge of the West Indies team for the 1997-98 England tour of the Caribbean.  The move was not without some controversy at the time, as some felt the then 28-year-old had been instrumental in forcing Walsh out of the post.  Ambrose seems to have been among them.

“Brian Lara, to me, was too hasty to lead the West Indies team. We knew he was going to be the natural successor to Courtney Walsh because when Courtney Walsh became the captain he [Walsh] had a couple of years left in him and all Brian Lara had to do was just wait on his turn because Courtney was doing a fairly good job,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

Walsh had taken over the post from Richie Richardson for the 1994-95 West Indies tour of India.  While in charge, the bowler went on to lead the team for 22 Test matches with a record of 6 wins 7 losses and 9 draws.  In ODIs, where he led the team 43 times, the West Indies won 22 lost 20, with one no result.

Lara oversaw the team for 47 Test matches, where they won 10, lost 26 and drew 11.  In ODIs he captained for 125 matches, winning 59, losing 59, with 7 no results.

“He was too anxious to be the captain and there was no competition because once Courtney left the scene he would have, but he realized it was not as easy as he probably thought. A lot of people were upset for him with that because he made it public that he wanted to be the captain; he campaigned for it and to me, it was disappointing,” he said.

Despite the team’s struggles, Lara performed well as captain individually, his 3725 runs and 5 centuries putting him 14th for most runs scored as a captain.  In Tests, he ranks 8th with 4685 and 14 hundreds, including his record 400.

 

 

 

 

For decades, the very mention of the names Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh filled the hearts of Windies fans with delight and struck terror into the hearts of opposing batsmen.

Considered by many to be the last of the truly great West Indian bowlers the pair were cable of smothering even the best batting line-ups on their day. 

Ambrose and Walsh played 97 and 121 Tests respectively and a total of 94 Tests with each other. Ambrose appeared in only three Test matches in which Walsh, did not participate. Of those 94 Tests, the West Indies won 42 and lost 24.

 It was on their broad backs that the responsibility for their team's overall success often fell.  They reigned from 1988-2000, very few could claim to have such a big impact on their team’s results than Ambrose and Walsh.