July 30, 2004
‘Big Bird’: Why no bowlers in top five?


One of the great West Indies fast bowlers of all time is disappointed at the non-inclusion of one of his fellow pacers in the Five West Indian Jubilee Cricketers announced Tuesday night. {{more}}
Joel Garner, the giant who played alongside a host of other menacing West Indian fast bowlers when the Caribbean side was the undisputed world champions, would have found a place in the five for his fellow Barbadian Malcolm Marshall.
“I fail to see how you can pick the top five cricketers and don’t pick a bowler,” Garner said moments after the Scotia Bank West Indian Jubilee Gala at the world famous Symphony Hall.
“If you pick all batsmen, something has got to be wrong. Batsmen don’t win games. Batsmen win games if you are chasing. You must be able to bowl teams out twice.”
The five were chosen by a jury of 30 chaired by experienced West Indian journalist Tony Becca. They are George Headley, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Vivian Richards, Frank Worrell and Brian Lara.
Becca explained afterwards the selection was made purely on a tabulation of votes based on the submission of each member of the jury, which included 25 West Indians and five non-West Indians.

Marshall ‘the man’

Garner, who took 259 wickets in teams under Richards and Clive Lloyd, gave Marshall an overwhelming vote.
“Marshall was without a doubt one of our finest fast bowlers,” he said. “When you look at it for what it is worth, he moreso than anybody else, would have been one of the top five.”
On an evening punctuated by excellent video clippings on a giant screen and former players reliving outstanding memories with hosts Simon Croskill and Sandra Spencer, Lara also collected the award for the Jubilee Best Test Batting performance by a West Indian for his unbeaten 153 against Australia at Kensington Oval in 1999.
The Jubilee Test Bowling performance by a West Indian went to Michael Holding for his eight for 92 against England at The Oval in 1976.
Richards also walked away with Jubilee ODI performance by a West Indian for his 189 against England at Old Trafford in 1984.
It was a special moment when the Five Jubilee Cricketers were announced with the presence on stage of the current West Indies team touring England and former players sitting ahead of them.
The old brigade included Sir Everton Weekes, Lance Gibbs, Gordon Greenidge, Joel Garner, Larry Gomes, Collis King and Ron Headley.
Former players from opposing countries were also in attendance. Among them were former Australia captain Richie Benaud, who recalled his battles with the 3Ws in the 1950s, ex-Indian wicket-keeper Farouk Engineer who touched on the magic of Gibbs, England’s Dennis Amiss, who remembered Holding’s 14 wickets at the Oval and Geoff Miller, one of those who felt the onslaught of Richards’ 189.