Making West Indies fast bowling fun again

Mon, Jul 30, '18

 

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Bloodbath. Sabina Park, Kingston. February 1986.

The visitors were battered and bruised, literally and metaphorically, by a rampant Patrick Patterson on his Test debut. The story remained the same throughout the series as West Indies duly completed the second successive sweep of England following the 5-0 drubbing in England in 1984. The scars England suffered on that tour took a long time to heal.

Of the 100 England wickets to fall across the ten innings, the pace quintet of Patterson, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Courtney Walsh (who played in the second Test in place of an injured Holding) accounted for 94 scalps. Never before or never since in their rich history of fast bowling have West Indies created such havoc.

The 2018 home season

While the current bunch of Windies quicks remain no match for their predecessors from the 1980s and 1990s, their performances in this home season did evoke a few happy memories of the past. There was a wicket around the corner when the seamers were operating, and they helped the home team stay afloat in crunch moments. The claims are substantiated by the fact that there was not a single wicketless uninterrupted session across the five Tests when they bowled. The fast bowlers also won four of the five Man of the Match awards, a happy consequence of the supposed revival.

The pacers accounted for 84 of the 96 wickets to fall in the five Tests against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Only two other home seasons witnessed West Indies pacers taking more wickets - 94 in 1985/86 and 91 in the 2002 season, which had two additional Tests. While the quality of opposition batsmen left a lot to be desired, it didn't take away from the consistency levels of the bowlers.

 

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