Courtney Walsh: West Indies fast bowler and cricket legend

Courtney Walsh: Most Test wickets by a West Indian
Courtney Walsh: Most Test wickets by a West Indian

Full name: Courtney Andrew Walsh

Born: October 30, 1962 at Kingston, Jamaica

Major teams: West Indies, Jamaica, Gloucestershire

Playing role: Fast bowler, lower-order batsman

Nickname: Cuddy

Other: Cricket commentator

Cricket began as a gentleman's game and Courtney Walsh was a true gentleman on and off the cricket field. Walsh was a product of the era when the West Indies had fast bowlers to spare. The tall Jamaican began his First-class career in 1981 and lasted all of two decades - ending with a Test record in 2001. More than a decade after his retirement, the Caribbean team is still looking for a replacement to fill the big man's shoes.

Walsh started off as a stock bowler in a team that included the likes of Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall. It was only when those greats retired that Walsh took the new ball with Antiguan Curtly Ambrose. Walsh and Ambrose's new-ball partnership was as good as Lillee and Thompson's or Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis'.

The West Indian record holder was a good fast bowler, but one of his greatest attributes was his invulnerability to injuries. Many fast bowlers break down at some point in their careers, but Walsh was durable and he was fast in his prime. This attribute allowed him to play 20 years of First-class cricket.

The Jamaican's greatest honour was becoming the first bowler to reach the 500-wicket mark in Test cricket. He achieved this milestone in the Caribbean against South Africa in 2000, after he broke Kapil Dev's world record against Zimbabwe in 2000. Courtney also played the highest number of Test matches by a fast bowler (132) and was one of the few bowlers to scalp over 1000 First-class wickets. Indeed, his record shows that he far exceeded the 1000-mark.

Courtney Walsh's bowling records

Match-type 
No.
Wickets
Avg
BBI
BBM
Strike rate 
Econ 
 Tests
132
519
24.44
7/37
13/55
57.8 
2.53 
ODIs
205
227
30.47
5/1
5/1
47.6
3.83
FC
429
1807
21.71
---
---
47.2 
2.75 
List A 
440
551
25.14
6/21
6/21
39.7 
3.79 
Source: Cricinfo
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5/1 vs Sri Lanka

Towards the end of his career, Courtney Walsh dropped his pace, but remained very effective. Even when he bowled nasty bouncers or bruising deliveries, it was never done with hostility or real menace.

The only thing nasty about Walsh was the occasional delivery that would rear up to unsuspecting batsmen from a good length. The fast bowler typically bowled from wide of the crease and angled the ball into the batsman's body. Sometimes, he would get the ball to straighten or move away from the batsman.

Walsh's accurate and effective bowling compensated for his inept batting. He still hold the world record for the most "ducks" (scores of zero) in Tests. On 43 occasions, the Jamaican trudged back to the pavilion without troubling the scorers. The game has never seen a more genuine Number 11 - even Australian Glenn McGrath was not that bad. Surprisingly, Walsh managed to score eight First-class 50s in a total of 4,530 First-class runs.

Walsh had a long and successful stint with English County side Gloucestershire, when he was not playing for Jamaica or West Indies. Apart from his West Indian record, he would be fondly remembered for his partnership with Curtly Ambrose. Those two shared over 900 Test wickets and were friends on and off the pitch. As a true gentleman and role model for all aspiring cricketers, Walsh is one of cricket's legends and a West Indian all-time great.

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Comments 1 comment

cheetah786 profile image

cheetah786 3 years ago

walsh, ambrose, akram, mcgrath and waqar are the great bowlers and they will be remembered for centuries..

good hub.

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