For 21 years, Courtney Walsh destroyed metacarpals and careers with his pace and guile. Like many great athletes, he possessed a rare physiology that allowed a strong work ethic and uncommon longevity. He was probably the last of the great pacers produced by West Indies. Walsh played at a time when West Indies terrorised batsmen with their pace bowlers but now their cricket has undergone a massive change. They have started to open their bowling with spinners. But it doesn’t bother the legendary Walsh. The former pacer, who is in Chennai to guide budding cricketers in the Ultimate Sports coaching camp conducted by Golden Goose, spoke to reporters on the rise of West Indies in Twenty20s, the upcoming series with India, Indian Premier League and much more.
Being a pace legend, does it hurt when you see spinner Sunil Narine opening the bowling for West Indies?
It absolutely doesn’t. I think Sunil is one of best in the world and he has the skills to excel at the highest level. Cricket has changed a lot in past two decades and it’s not that Sunil is the only spinner who has opened the bowling for a team. It all started with Deepak Patel and it is still continuing. I think when a skipper sets his strategy, he looks at his options and if he chooses to offer the new ball to Sunil, he must do it. It all depends on what conditions you are playing in and you must respond to its demand.
The bilateral series between India and West Indies will resume soon. How do you see the move by the boards to resume cricketing ties?
I’m part of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and there can’t be any good news than this. I congratulate both the boards for taking such a remarkable initiative and I welcome the decision. Both the nations have rich cricket history and I think the new series will boost cricket in the Caribbean.
Jasprit Bumrah’s yorkers have been a talking point and Ricky Ponting recently said that he is ready for Test cricket. Do you think he will do well only with one weapon?
He has potential but I don’t think he’ll excel in Test cricket unless he gets variations. You won’t survive in Tests only depending on your yorkers. It’s a good skill to have but in Test cricket, a fast bowler’s success depends on how he puts all the things together.
Glenn McGrath recently said Dale Steyn is the best fast bowler in the world. Do you agree with him?
Yes, I also think so. Dale has been unfortunate to be haunted by injuries in the recent past but I think he is a complete fast bowler in the world at the moment.
Many of the West Indian players have been doing well in the IPL. Why do you think they are so well-suited for this format?
I think most of the players have been playing in the IPL from the beginning and they enjoy this format very much. They have improved a lot in terms of adapting to conditions, shot innovations and bowling genuine yorkers. We have done well in this format and it has a lot to do with our players’ participation in the IPL.