Blessed with pace, swing and the ability to bowl an explosive bouncer, Malcolm Marshall was arguably the best bowler of the West Indies attack in the 1980s.

He also possessed an uncanny ability to outthink any batsman. He later developed a serious leg-cutter that made him even more cunning.

His strike rate of 46.22 was phenomenal, his average of 20.95 equally so.

In 1984, he broke his left thumb while fielding early in a Test against England but with his left hand in a plaster cast, destroyed the England batting, taking 7 for 53.

Four years later, on an Old Trafford wicket prepared specifically for spinners, he pitched the ball up and swung and cut it to such devastating effect that he took 7 for 22.

Marshall died of cancer in 1991 at the age of 41.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Malcolm Denzil Marshall

Born: April 18, 1958, Bridgetown, Barbados

Died: November 4, 1999, Bridgetown, Barbados (aged 41 years 200 days)

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

Test Career: West Indies (1978-1991)

 

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

81      151     17584   7876     376    7/22    11/89    20.94    2.68    46.7     19      22       4 

 

Career Highlights

  • Often regarded as best West Indies fast bowler
  • Best average of any bowler over 300 Test wickets (20.94)
  • 3rd best strike rate of any bowler over 300 wickets (46.77)

Secured 376 wickets in 81 Tests                    

Sir Garfield Sobers is one of the first cricketers in history to excel at all aspects of the game and many recognize him as the sport’s greatest all-rounder.

His exploits with the bat are the stuff of legends and make the uninitiated about the history of cricket fall prey to ignoring the fact that Sir Garry was also a bowler of no small stature.

Unlike many all-rounders in the list of greats SportsMax has compiled, Sir Garry was a spinner of both orthodox and leg-spin, as well as a fast-medium bowler of great skill.

That combination in a player at the highest level has yet to be replicated. Sir Garry would end his career having picked off four wickets in a match on eight occasions, as well as six five-fors. His best bowling performance among the 235 wickets he picked up from 93 Tests was 6-73, but he also had 8-80 in a match.

In fact, Sir Garry began playing for Barbados as a bowler and even made the Test team at 17 in that capacity. Four years later, though, his then World Record 365 not out, staked his claim as the world’s best batsman and for a long time, the best the world had ever seen.

To top it off, Sir Garry was an ace fielder anywhere, but he was particular superb close to the wicket.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Garfield St. Aubrun Sobers

Born: July 28th, 1936 in Bridgetown, Barbados

Major teams: West Indies, Barbados, Nottinghamshire, South Australia

Batting style: Left-handed

Bowling style: left-arm orthodox, wrist spin as well as seam

Role: All-rounder

Height: 5 ft 11 in

 

Test Career (Batting): West Indies (1954-1974)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs   HS     Ave     100s    50s  

93       160      21     8032    365*  57.78       26      30

 

Test Career (Bowling): West Indies (1954-1974)

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

93     159    21599     7999      235       6/73     8/80     34.03   2.22     91.9     8       6          0

 

Career Highlights

  • Affectionately called “Garry Sobers”
  • Scored 8032 Test runs and took 235 wickets
  • Captained West Indies in 39 matches, winning 9 and losing 10
  • Widely regarded as the greatest All-rounder of all-time

Windies spinner Hayden Walsh insists he would have very little issue playing in front of an empty stadium for the upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) as it would be like playing regional cricket.

The CPL is slated to get under way in August of this year but there is a lot of uncertainty, not just regarding its staging, but also the format it will take as well.  One of the ideas being floated around suggests a ‘social distancing’ version of the tournament, which would be held at Barbados' Kensington Oval.

While some players have claimed an empty stadium could be awkward, Walsh, who is a part of the defending champion Barbados Tridents, has insisted it would be business as usual.  Unlike the massive crowds associated with the CPL, the regional competitions do struggle at times to attract any significant crowd following.

“We still have quite some time to try and get ready while we are waiting for the tournament to come around. We see some progress with the region recovering from the virus, and probably at the start, it may affect the tournament where the social distancing is concerned, and it might not, but I am used to playing in front of an empty stadium in regional cricket where pretty much no one comes sometimes, so I guess it would be business as usual,” Walsh told the Antigua Observer.

Walsh, the tournament’s top wicket-taker last season, was one of nine Barbados Tridents retained.  The list also includes captain Jason Holder, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope and Raymon Reifer, Ashley Nurse and Johnathan Carter.

 

West Indies cricket legend Deryck Murray believes the current generation of cricketers has, to some extent, lost the meaning of what it means to represent the regional team.  

The 76-year-old former wicketkeeper played 88 matches in 10 years for what is generally referred to as the ‘all-conquering’ West Indies squad.  The team proved themselves to be the best in the world after capturing back-to-back ICC World Cup titles with wins over Australia and England at the 1975 and 1979 editions. 

For the current crop, however, those glory days have long faded.  The team has captured two world titles of its own in the freshly minted T20 format, but when it comes to the traditional ODI and Test formats, they have for the most part lost far more often than they have won.

Murray believes a part of the team’s recent failures is down to losing the significance of what it means to be on the pitch for the West Indies and the passion required to succeed.

“I’d love to give them an understanding of what it really means to represent the West Indies.  I think that is something that would be difficult to assimilate without the kind of mentorship that I had and I’m sure a number of youngsters coming into the team in my era had,” Murray told Barbados radio show, Mason and Guest, recently.

“I think now people talk about cricket as a job, you have to be professional. You have to do this you have to do that.  You have to hit a 100 balls in practice.  That’s not what international cricket is about.  International cricket is about the desire to play a Test match, to win a Test match, to win a Test series,” he added.

“It has nothing to do with how much you get paid or how much the coach gets paid or whatever.  It’s about wanting to do something, and you want to do it and go out and train.  Because you train for 35 minutes a day you recognize you really could train 40 minutes and it won’t hurt me.  When you do 40 minutes you think I can do an hour and you keep going.”

“…You need to get into the passion for what it is that you are doing and how you are doing it.  You need to believe that there is a meritocracy and feel that if you are the best the coaches and selectors will pick you…it’s as much as about the psychological game as much as the actual technique of batting and bowling.”

England Test captain Joe Root is in support of finding a way to make sure his side can welcome a visit from the West Indies as early as July.

For that to happen, the players would have to go through rigid isolation and testing protocols, as well as austere social distancing measures.

Of course, the proposal will include officials as well as media and the England skipper thinks it can work.

“I’m optimistic about it. It would be a real shame if it doesn’t happen. The public are desperate for some live sport and the guys are missing it,” said Root.
“The players would be sectioned off in one part of the hotel and would be in isolation together. There would be no interaction with the media, the TV crews or even the opposition when off the pitch.

“We would have separate lunchrooms. It would have a different feel to it but it’s probably manageable. Hopefully that is the case.”

According to the proposals, the three Tests would be played at ‘bio-secure’ venues behind closed doors.

Those venues, the proposal points out, are those that have hotels on location, like Manchester, Southampton and Headingly.

Root, while optimistic, is cognizant of the fact that Cricket West Indies (CWI) would have to take the risk.

In response, West Indies Test captain Jason Holder, has said his side would have to be certain of their safety before saying yes to such a proposal.

“This thing has been really, really serious as we all know and has claimed quite a few lives throughout the world and that’s the last thing any of us would really want,” said Holder.

“I think we’ve got to play the safety card first before we can even think about resuming our normal lives.”

In the meantime, CWI Chief Executive, Johnny Grave, has said the England Cricket Board’s proposals were being considered but that first all the moving parts would have to be understood.
England will be desperate to get back the Wisden Trophy they lost to the West Indies last year for the first time in a decade.

Blessed with a free-stroking, aggressive style best suited for limited-overs cricket, West Indian Chris Gayle has also had a solid career as a Test batsman.

His 79-ball century at Cape Town in January 2004, on the back of a South African first- innings score of 532, was typical of his no-holds-barred approach.

However, Gayle has also shown the ability to bat long periods and the hunger to make big scores. In 2009 against Australia, Gayle batted almost seven-and-a-half hours in scoring an unbeaten 165 to save the Test in Adelaide; in the very next game, though, he smashed the fifth-fastest Test century - off 70 balls - to indicate that quick-scoring remained his preferred method.

The following year he batted almost ten hours and scored 333 against Sri Lanka and Muralitharan in Galle, becoming only the fourth batsman to score two triples in Tests, thus proving again, his ability to bat long periods.

He is the most capped player for the West Indies in international cricket and is the only player to score a triplet of centuries – a triple hundred in Tests, double hundred in ODIs and a hundred in T20Is.

 

Career Statistics 

Full name: Christopher Henry Gayle 

Born: September 21, 1979, Kingston, Jamaica

Major Teams: Balkh Legends, Barisal Burners, Chattogram Challengers, Chittagong Vikings, D Ganga's XI, Dhaka Gladiators, Dolphins, Hooper XI, ICC World XI, Jacobs XI, Jacques Kallis Invitational XI, Jamaica, Jamaica Tallawahs, Jozi Stars, Karachi Kings, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Lahore Qalandars, Lions, Marylebone Cricket Club, Matabeleland Tuskers, Melbourne Renegades, Rangpur Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, RR Sarwan's XI, Somerset, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Stanford Superstars, Sydney Thunder, Vancouver Knights, West Indies Under-19s, Western Australia, Worcestershire

Playing Role: Opener

Batting Style: Left-hand bat

Bowling Style: Right-arm off-break

Test Batting Averages - West Indies (2000-2014)

Mat      Inns     NO       Runs    HS   Ave      BF       SR       100      50       

103      182      11     7214    333   42.18   11970  60.26   15       37       

 

Career highlights 

  • One of four batsmen to pass 300 more than once in Tests
  • One of five West Indians to carry bat in Tests
  • Eighth fastest century in Tests (70 balls)
  • The first player to hit all 6 balls in an over for four in Tests
  • The first player to hit the first ball of a Test match for six

Very few players in Test Cricketing history have managed to combine batting and wicket-keeping as consistently and successfully as Dujon has. Agile and acrobatic in his movements, and possessed of a great pair of hands, he was riveting to watch as he handled the pace of the great fast bowlers of his time. Men such as Holding, Roberts, Marshall, Garner, Ambrose, and Walsh benefitted greatly from his ability to do the spectacular.

He remains in the top five on the all-time world list, and No.1 in the history of West Indies Cricket in dismissals with 267 catches and five stumpings. Jeffrey Dujon is the only West Indian cricketer to have played for a decade and never have lost a test series.

Dujon's runs for West Indies were often made after the dashing top-order batsmen had for once charged into oblivion, whereupon he and Gus Logie would set about rebuilding the innings. He scored 110 against India in the Antigua Test of 1982-83, 130 against Australia at Port of Spain in 1983-84, 101 against England at Old Trafford in 1984, 139 at Perth in 1984-85, and 106 not out against Pakistan in 1987-88.

 

Career Statistics

Full name:  Peter Jeffrey Leroy Dujon

Born:    28 May 1956 (age 63)

Kingston, Jamaica

Batting:  Right-handed

Bowling: Right-arm medium pace

Major Team: West Indies (1981-1991)

Role: Wicketkeeper

 

            Mat    Inns    NO     Runs   HS     Ave     100    50      Ct    St

Tests   81     115        11      3322   139    31.94         5    16     267     5

 

 

Achievements

Veteran West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has rated the current squad of players as better overall than past T20 World Cup-winning teams.

Under the captaincy of Darren Sammy and with the likes of Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, and Dwayne Smith the West Indies captured the world titles at the 2010 and 2016 editions.  The current set-up, while having some of the same players who played in the previous edition, like Pollard and including Bravo, mostly consists of a new generation of West Indies talent.

Bravo, who was recently recalled to the team, admits that the most impressive aspect of the new guns is a deep and talented batting line-up, which interestingly is absent top T20 batsman Chris Gayle.

“In the last series in Sri Lanka, we had a team meeting, and coach Phil [Simmons] put the team down, the list, and he put it down in batting order, and he had my name down at No. 9," Bravo said in a recent interview with Espn.

"And I said to the guys, I said listen, I don't think I was ever involved in a T20 team when I am down to bat at No. 9,” he added.

"I'm just in awe of our batting line-up, and I said to the guys, I said listen, I think this team is actually better than our World-Cup-winning team, and that is no joke because at the end of the day, you have batting all the way down to No. 10.

"And imagine, Sunil Narine is not even in the team as yet. So just imagine, when Sunil comes into the team, Sunil will be batting at No. 10, or No. 11. He's an opening batsman now in T20.

"So just imagine a full-strength West Indies team, everyone is on deck. As a bowler, you get Evin Lewis out, [Shimron] Hetmyer comes in. You get Hetmyer out, [Nicholas] Pooran comes in, you get Lendl Simmons out, [Andre] Russell comes in, you get Russell out, [Kieron] Pollard comes in, you get Pollard out, Rovman Powell comes in, and it keeps going, going, and then you reach the champion DJ Bravo.”

The West Indies were in the middle of preparation for the next edition of the T20 World Cup before the coronavirus pandemic struck.  The tournament was scheduled to take place from 18 October to 15 November 2020 but could yet be pushed back.

Former West Indies fast bowler Kenneth Benjamin says Lance Gibbs’ criticism of Rahkeem Cornwall’s bowling is off the mark and shows that he is out of touch with the modern game.

West Indies batting star Chris Gayle remains very much a wanted man in Nepal as the country mulls the possibility of a new date for the Everest Premier League (EPL).

The 40-year-old left-handed ball beater was expected to be the tournament’s biggest star, but things were put on hold due to the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.  The organisers of the competition are yet to determine the best date for a possible restart but insist the securing the services of Gayle and other overseas players remain very much on the cards.

 “Of course the availability dates for Chris Gayle and other foreign players shall be considered, and shall be put on priority,” said Aamir Akhtar, the league’s managing director.

“We would love to have him in EPL if everything works out. He has a huge fan following in Nepal.”

In January Gayle announced he had signed for Pokhara Rhinos for the fourth season of the Twenty20 competition in Kathmandu.  The West Indian was heading an impressive list of overseas players bound for the competition, with the likes of Mohammed Shahzad, Paul Stirling , Kevin O’Brien, Upul Tharanga and Corey Anderson all due to feature.

The tournament was postponed shortly before its scheduled March 14 start date because of the situation surrounding Covid-19.

 

Manchester United and Arsenal did not make it to this season's Champions League, but 11 years ago they were contesting a crucial semi-final.

It was United who ended up reaching the 2009 final after winning a famous second leg at Emirates Stadium.

West Indies batsman Deandra Dottin can also reflect proudly on this date, given it is a decade to the day since she made T20I history.

Here we look back on some of the most memorable moments from the world of sport to take place on May 5.

 

2009 - Ronaldo and Man Utd roll past Arsenal

A solitary John O'Shea strike had United one goal to the good in the semi-final going into an eagerly anticipated second leg between the domestic rivals in London.

Arsenal supporters created a frenzied atmosphere but saw their hopes of reaching a second final in four years evaporate in rapid, heart-breaking fashion.

A Park Ji-sung strike and a 40-yard free-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo gave United two away goals, all but ending the tie after 11 minutes.

Ronaldo then capped a classic United counter-attack in the second half to dispel any thoughts of a comeback from Arsene Wenger's side.

Arsenal finally found the target when future United striker Robin van Persie converted a late penalty but there was to be no way back.

It was a crushing defeat for the Gunners and they have not made it to the last four of Europe's premier club competition since.

United went on to lose the final 2-0 against Barcelona in Rome, ending their hopes of becoming the first team to retain the Champions League in the modern era of the competition. 

They suffered the same fate in a final against Barca at Wembley two years later and have remained on three Champions League triumphs since their 2008 success.


2010 - Cricketing history for Deandra Dottin

Dottin obliterated the South Africa bowling attack 10 years ago in St Kitts and Nevis to score the first women's T20I hundred.

It took her only 38 deliveries to reach three figures and that remains the fastest century in history.

Australia's Alyssa Healy smashed a 46-ball ton against Sri Lanka in 2019, but that pace still fell considerably short of Dottin's incredible innings.

Batting at number six, Dottin ended with a score of 112 not out from 45 deliveries.

She catapulted West Indies from 52-4 to a match-winning total of 175-5, although South Africa did come within 17 runs.

Her second fifty came in just 13 deliveries and in total she hit seven fours and nine sixes for a magnificent strike-rate of 248.88.


1904 – Cy Young pitches first perfect game

It is 116 years to the day since Young pitched the first perfect game in the modern era of baseball.

The Boston Americans pitcher was a 37-year-old when he retired all 27 Philadelphia Athletics batters he faced in the Huntington Avenue Grounds, winning a grudge match against rival Rube Waddell.

All told it was the third perfect game in MLB history but first since the modern era was considered to have begun in 1900 once rules had been codified.

Over four years passed before Addie Joss became the second player in the modern era to pitch a perfect game in October 1908 for the Cleveland Naps against the Chicago White Sox.

The third came from Charlie Robertson in 1922 and Don Larsen's effort in 1956 was the only other perfect game before the 1960s.

After Young's death in 1955, the Cy Young Award was created in his honour to reward the game's best pitchers.

The late great Malcolm Marshall was a terrifying pace bowler and many have argued that he was the best there has ever been.

Smart, deceptively quick, and brutal, Marshall had all the attributes to make him a nightmare for any batsman, no matter how much class he possessed.

But on a day in 1983, in India no less, Marshall showed something new, well it was at least new to them.

Marshall had scored four centuries in his career outside of Test cricket, three for New Hampshire, and one when he was an under-19 cricketer, playing against Zimbabwe but his Test cricket average of 10, hadn’t shrouded him in glory. He would eventually push that average up to 18 by the time his career ended in 1991. But still, there was not much expected of him.

On a surprisingly slow wicket in Kanpur, the West Indies went to bat on the first day and soon got in trouble with Desmond Haynes, 6, Viv Richards, 24, Larry Gomes, 21, skipper Clive Lloyd, 23, and Gus Logie, 0, all back in the pavilion.

In step Phillip Jeffrey Dujon to join the unusually sedate Gordon Greenidge and the two set to rebuilding the innings, but at 255-5 on the first day and despite a recovery from 157-5, the game was still in the balance.

Greenidge would resume on the second day on his overnight 130 and go on to bat for just over nine hours on his way to scoring 194 from 368 deliveries.

The great West Indies opener would strike 23 fours and not a single six in his near-200-run innings, while Dujon, who was on 48 from the day before, was marginally more adventurous, batting for just about three hours before he was bowled by Roger Binny for 81.

Marshall walked to the wicket looking like he did not have a care in the world on the second day, probably sure in his mind that when he got the ball, the balance of the game would swing yet again.

But before that though, he might have well give his fellow pacers some more time to relax in the pavilion.

Marshall, batting with Greenidge, showed he wasn’t just good with ball in hand but hunkered down for the next three hours or so and faced 151 deliveries on his way to his highest ever Test score, 92. Forty-four of those 92 runs would come in boundaries.

He played no small part in helping Greenidge score as many as he did. When Greendidge went, Eldine Baptiste, 6, Michael Holding, 0, and  Winston Davis, 0, did not last long.

But Marshall wasn’t done yet either. He would return to make a mockery of Kapil Dev’s 4-99 with 4-19 that put the result decidedly in West Indies’ favour. The West Indies had made 454 all out on the back of Marshall, Dujon, and Greenidge’s innings but then the paceman helped route India for just 207.

The West Indies would not bat again, as for the second time in the game, Marshall grabbed four, this time going for all of 47.

Marshall’s bowling, as per usual, was tremendous, but this was the first time his batting was doing the talking as the West Indies removed Pakistan for 164 to win the game by an innings and 83 runs.

The West Indies would go on to win the 6-Test series 3-0 and Marshall had become a legend in India.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler turned commentator Michael Holding has heaped criticism on the newly introduced International Cricket Council (ICC) World Test Championships (WTC) series.

The competition, which was introduced in August of last year, is meant to be the premier championship for Test cricket.

The tournament features nine of the twelve Test-playing nations, each of whom plays a Test series against six of the other eight teams. Each series consists of between two and five matches, so although all teams will play six series (three at home and three away), they will not play the same number of Tests. Each team will be able to score a maximum of 120 points from each series and the two teams with the most points at the end of the league stage will contest the final.

Holding has however taken exception with both the format of the competition and its established points system.

"It doesn't work," Holding was quoted as saying by Wisden. "First of all, the points system is ridiculous. You can't play five Test matches and get the same amount of points if you play two Test matches,” he added.

"And secondly, at some point, you're going to have teams who know they cannot get to the final and so those Test matches aren't going to be all that entertaining. People know it's just another game."

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell admits that like many others he is more than eager to see the back of the coronavirus pandemic, in order to get back to doing what he loves to do best, and that is hitting sixes.

The power slugger, however, also has another important reason to want to see the virus contained and that is to get his family back together.  Russell’s wife and newborn daughter were both in Miami, in the United States, when travel restrictions were enforced, while the Jamaican was in his homeland.

“She [his daughter] and Jassym, they are both in Miami. I stay connected to them and talk to them. I wish I could have them here, but with all these travel restrictions, we cannot do anything,” Russell said in an interview with the website of his IPL team, KKR’s official ‘Knights Unplugged.

 “It’s not really a situation anyone would want to be in. This is affecting the world, it’s affecting me, preventing me from hitting sixes. Hope this thing calms down in a month or two and we can go back to normal life again.”

The player hopes to once again feel the excitement of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which has been postponed indefinitely amid the outbreak.  For Russell, nothing compares to the excitement of the IPL  and facing his home crowd at Eden Gardens.

“Let me confess something, IPL is where I get the most goosebumps. I get that in CPL (Caribbean Premier League) as well but when it comes to playing in IPL, especially Eden Gardens, there is no comparison,” Russell said referring to his team’s home ground in Kolkata.

“The welcome I get, that’s love. It puts pressure on me but it’s good pressure,” he added.

Unheralded West Indies middle-order batsman Larry Gomes has rated his century against India at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago as his best.

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