Cow Corner

Pick your ultimate West Indies pace attack

Cow Corner

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So rich is the history of West Indies fast bowlers that whittling any list down to a specific bowling attack is hugely problematic.

Even if the task were to select an all-time entire West indies team of pacemen, there would still be some notable omissions.

Let's start with the distinguished era of Learie Constantine, George Francis and Herman Griffith, through to Manny Martindale, Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith, to the formidable quartet of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Colin Croft (pictured, above).

Oh, and there's always Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose etc, etc, etc. One could go on and on. The conveyor belt of pacemen was seemingly endless.

Below are 10 of the best West Indies fast bowlers, and Cowers' final four-man selection (Lance Gibbs can provide us with some spin) is decided upon at the bottom of the page.

Now you are charged with compiling your ultimate West Indies pace attack! Who would make up your dream unit? Pick anyone, except perhaps Tino Best...

 

Wes Hall
 

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Test caps: 48 - Wickets: 192 - Average: 26.38
 

Hall had one of the most intimidating approaches
and follow-throughs of any fast bowler. He formed a deadly duo, first with
Roy Gilchrist and then with Charlie Griffith; he and Griffith are numbered
among the world's greatest pairs.

 

 

Charlie Griffith
 

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Test caps: 28 - Wickets: 94 - Average: 28.54
 
Exactly the same height as Hall, Griffith's speciality was his searing inswinging yorkers, which he delivered accurately to deadly effect. When not bowling toe-crushers, Griffith enjoyed bouncing batsmen out with utter disdain.
 

 

Andy Roberts
 

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Test caps: 47 - Wickets: 202 - Average: 25.61
 
As deadpan as he was destructive, the gunslinger Roberts showed as much emotion when taking a wicket as he did when a batsman edged one behind for four runs. An interminable glare and a ruthless approach epitomised his game.
 

 

Michael Holding
 

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Test caps: 60 - Wickets: 249 - Average: 23.68
 
Whispering Death used to ghost past the umpire with searing pace, kissing the turf, but all to the most savage effect. Holding delivered one over to Geoff Boycott at the Kensington Oval in 1981 which is simply frightening to watch.

 

 

Colin Croft

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 Test caps: 27 - Wickets: 125 - Average: 23.30

"Crofty would bounce out his grandmother if he thought there was a wicket in it," one of his team-mates once remarked. The paceman's often volatile short-pitched bowling was terrifying for batsmen, and he made a big mark in a short career.

 

 

Joel Garner

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Test caps: 58 - Wickets: 259 - Average: 20.97
 
The Big Bird stood imperiously at 6'8" and seemed to deliver the ball from the clouds (well, above the sightscreen at any rate). Garner bowled at an alarming pace and with steepling bounce: his yorkers were also utterly devastating.
 

 

Malcolm Marshall

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 Test caps: 81 - Wickets: 376 - Average: 20.94
 
Marshall was perhaps the finest of West Indies' formidable fast bowlers of the 1980s, and possessed every attribute required to make him the complete paceman. Fierce pace, swing, a vicious bouncer and unerring accuracy.
 

 

Courtney Walsh
 

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 Test caps: 132 - Wickets: 519 - Average: 24.44
 
Walsh formed a quite superb partnership with Curtly Ambrose as the pair carried the West Indies bowling attack through the 90s with distinction. Uncompromising, unwavering and tireless, Walsh's longevity was as impressive as his bowling.
 

 

Curtly Ambrose
 

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Test caps: 98 - Wickets: 405 - Average: 20.99
 
Ambrose was the most lethal pace bowler of his generation, with his celebrations more animated than his "Curtly talk to no man" dead expressions off the field. He ran through England with a memorable 6 for 24, and Australia with a 7 for 1 burst.
 

 

Ian Bishop
 

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 Test caps: 43 - Wickets: 161 - Average: 24.27
 
Serious back problems twice brought to a screeching halt one of the most exciting careers. A lovely run-up, beautiful side-on approach, swing and pace: Bishop had everything to his game, but an enforced change of action curtailed his assault.
 

Cowers' ultimate West Indies pace attack: Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose.

Who would your ultimate attack consist of? What combination do you think would be best for the perfect West Indies pace unit? Post your views below...

While we're all in the spirit of all things West Indies and all things fast bowling, why not check out the trailer for the documentary 'Fire in Babylon'...

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