Write an Article Live Scores App

The terminal decline of West Indies's fast bowling battery - Part 1



From the bygone era of 1930s to early 90s, West Indies produced a slew of mighty fine fast bowlers who made batsmen quiver for cover with a mere stare. They seemed to have carnassial teeth and sharp claws of a lion to tear-apart any opposition into shreds. While growing up in the 90s, it even felt like they had a secret factory located in Barbados, where they produced one great fast bowler after another.

Now, who can forget reading about the likes of  H.Griffith, Martindale, Constantine, Francis, (his peak  period was around late 1920s) and company, giving the unsuspecting batsman a taste of chin-music in 1930s. Aficionados, remember how Constantine and Martindale tried to scare England’s captain, Jardine, with their own version of deadly bodyline fast bowling in 32/33. To Jardine’s credit, he didn’t flinch one bit by making a century.

The rich tradition of producing great fast bowlers continued after the World War 2, as the likes of Hall, C.Griffith, Gilchrist, Sobers, Holder, Roberts, Croft, Clark, Marshall, Holding, Garner, Winston Davis, Walsh, Bishop, Patterson and Ambrose raided and terrorised opposition ranks with pace, and disconcerting bounce for a period of almost five decades. The competition for a place in the side was such that fine fast bowlers like Mosley, Miton Small, Gray and few others, could play less than a handful of games.

In recent times though, West Indies have struggled to produce world class quick bowlers. Among those pacers who made their debut aftermath of that historic series defeat against Australia in 94/95, the only Windies bowler to take more than 100 wickets is Merv Dillon. As a cricket-obsessed fan who craved to watch those great spells of fast bowling by the fearsome troika of Bishop, Walsh and Ambrose in the early 90s, it saddens me to no end that not even a single world-class fast bowler has emerged form the land of Caribbean in the last two decades. For all those effervescent efforts of Dillon, he himself was nothing more than a workman-like pacer. Some quicks did show promise, but fell by the wayside quickly.

In this article, I would look at pacers from the land of Caribbean who in spite of showing early promise to make it into the top-echelon of fast bowlers in test cricket, faded away.

4th Test Match  -  Australia v West Indies

Cameron Cuffy in action

The Windward Islands’ towering giant, Cameron Cuffy, sent shock waves through India’s famed batting line-up in his first one-day series in India in 94/95. In the second one-day game of that series, he caught the eye by dismissing the little master, Tendulkar, with a brute of a back of a length delivery. Reams and acres of print were expended on him being a carbon copy of West Indies’s spearhead Ambrose. But from the start, it was clearly evident that he was not going to be a worthy successor of Ambrose. In spite of it, there was an inkling that he was going to serve West Indies’s cricket with distinction, in the years to come.

A variety of reasons, ranging from some wayward spells bowled by Cuffy, to not being able to get into the side due to the presence of established stars like Ambrose and Walsh meant that he soon found himself in the wilderness. Cuffy, did make a comeback into the team in a tri-series held in Australia in 00/01. But by then, he had lost a yard of pace, and was nothing more than a honest-trier. Interestingly, his last Test series was against the team that he made his debut – India.

Page 1 of 2 Next

CPL 2016: Patriots claim second win to hold up Knight Riders’ qualification Evin Lewis was the star of the show for the Patriots, scoring 79 from just 40 deliveries.
Sri Lanka vs Australia, 2016: Graham Ford calls Kusal Mendis 'an amazing talent' Sri Lanka coach hails the 21-year-old's stirring knock on a difficult surface
West Indies v India, 2016: Murali Vijay ruled out of the second Test in Jamaica Indian opener has not yet recovered fully from a thumb injury
5 cricketers who showed effects of drunkenness on the cricket field After-match parties are quite common these days especially in the Indian Premier League.
Watch: Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble lead India's wishes on Garry Sobers' 80th birthday Indian captain and coach post heartfelt messages to West Indies legend
Sportskeeda Adda: Team India’s combination for the second Test Perspective galore from Sportskeeda fans for team India's combination for the second Test.
4 uncapped players of Asian descent included in USA squad for CPL invitational match The CPL XI squad will be coached by Tom Moody and captained by Shamarh Brooks.
Brett Lee looking forward to watching Sachin Tendulkar's biopic Sachin: A Billion Dreams will capture minute details of Tendulkar's cricketing and personal life along with some unheard stories.
Batting coach Stuart Law still confident of an Australian victory at Kandy Law wants the Australian batsmen to negotiate carefully the first hour of play on the fifth and final day of the match on Saturday.
Joe Root reveals harsh words from batting coach motivated him to score double century Root felt it was the tempo at which he expects to score in One day cricket was affecting his Test batting
Top 5 DRS decision that changed the course of a cricket match A list of the top 5 DRS controversies that had a bearing on the outcome of a match.
Virender Sehwag remembers Tiger Pataudi's legacy in his own inimitable way Flamboyant opener hails the iconic captain's contribution to Indian cricket on Twitter
England's wait for day-night Test edges closer as Edgbaston gears up to host three-day game under floodlights The match between Warwickshire and Worcestershire's second string sides will now be played with the pink ball.
In conversation with Gundappa Viswanath: "Hit and run players can only play some matches" The legendary batsman talked about the prospects of the Karnataka Premier League and what it has in store for upcoming cricketers.
CPL 2016: St Kitts and Nevis Patriots vs Trinbago Knight Riders, Live Streaming, Team News, Probable XI, Prediction Everything you need to know about the match between St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and Trinbago Knight Riders
South African Nic Pothas appointed Sri Lanka fielding coach
Tamil Nadu Premier League player draft to be held tomorrow The tournament will start in the fourth week of August
Karnataka Premier League 2016 launched by KSCA IPL stars Karun Nair and Mayank Agarwal were present at the event, along with Indian legends Gundappa Viswanath and Brijesh Patel.
West Indies vs India 2016 - 2nd Test Preview: Virat Kohli and co. aim to extend domination against inexperienced hosts On a high after a thumping win in the series opener, India will aim to extend their winning run at Sabina Park.
BCCI President Anurag Thakur set to join the territorial army Anurag Thakur is set to add another feather to his cap.
More →
Related articles