Courtney Walsh - the man who stood on top of Test cricket's bowling summit for four years
Tue, Oct 30, '12
It is a wonder why Courtney Walsh is not considered as great a fast bowler as his predecessors or contemporaries. In 2000, he went past Kapil Dev’s tally of 434 Test wickets, and stood at the summit for four years. True, he had legendary contemporaries: if you made your debut alongside Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Joel Garner, and once they quit, they were replaced by the likes of Curtly Ambrose and Ian Bishop, it’s not really your fault that you have to pursue an entire career as a stock bowler, bowling into the wind.
He was not as intimidating as his colleagues, but he outlasted them all, turning out to be the most durable of the crop: 519 Test wickets at 24.44 along with 227 ODI wickets at 30.47 (and an economy rate of 3.83) meant that he was up there with the very best. Walsh survived like no one else did. He bowled 30,019 balls – a tally of 5,003.1 overs – the highest ever by any fast bowler in the history of the game. He was the workhorse around whom the West Indian pace attack was formed. His 132 Tests seems an almost impossible feat for a fast bowler.
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