Being hailed as the natural successor to Courtney Walsh, former West Indian bowler Mervyn Dillion was the last among the legendary West Indian quickies which has become a history in modern day Caribbean cricket. Having taken 131 wickets in 38 Tests and 130 wickets in 108 ODIs in a career that spanned eight years, Dillon was the spearhead of the West Indies bowling attack in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
It’s been nine years since he retired, but still it is a treat for our eyes to see Dillion streaming in, swinging his arms over in an efficient action (which almost resembles Walsh) and delivering the ball that angles in then just holds its line and deceive .
Sportzwiki.com’s cricket reporter Shashi Agarwal had an interview with Dillion and here are the excerpts of that chat.
Sportzwiki.com also thanks Dillion for spending his valuable time and responding to our questions in a professional manner.
Shashi Agarwal: SA
Mervyn Dillon: MD
SA: You started your career carrying forward the legacy of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose. Did it put extra pressure on you?
MD: Actually it did not, personally it did not but I think everyone else judged you based on that.
SA: You were a sort of leader of the transition. West Indies now is not producing the bowlers having raw pace. Does it has something to take with the pitches getting dead or is it something else?
MD: I have always said when I started you still had a couple venues that as a fast bowler you kind of look forward to, Barbados and Jamaica. The pitches in the Caribbean have become really flat and is not conducive to helping young fast bowlers, having said that you have to be able to adapt to different surfaces but our pitches in the Caribbean need to be seriously looked at.
SA: Phil Hughes incident does take me to your case. After you broke Anil Kumble’s jaw, what was the Windies camp like, I mean what was the talk going there?
MD: It’s cricket, people get hit all the time as I have been a few times myself thanks to Brett Lee and Shawn Pollock. Anil was always a tough competitor as he showed coming back out to bat
SA: West Indies cricket is just a pale shadow of its glorious past? What is the main reason behind this? Administrative mess, financial problems or something else?
MD: It amazes me all the time, we have all the stakeholders who claim they have cricket at heart but yet still we can’t seem to get along, if we all want the same thing then how difficult can it be. We have so much talent as I keep saying, man management is key in most sports and is something we are not very good at. I’m sure it’s the same in most countries but working with some of the young players, they don’t trust the system to give them a fair chance so a lot of players loose interest. Our numerous fights with the board going back over 15 years has always put players against each other depending on which side they choose and continues to do so.
SA: Will CPL help revive WI cricket (is it a false hope)?
MD: CPL will help, as it’s supposed to help with the financial aspect but it’s not the main problem.
SA: With the World Cup coming in, how much the current mess surrounding the team will affect the players, both on and off the field?
MD: That will always be a huge problem for us and can really destroy the team morale. Based on the players we have, if we field our best team I really believe we can win this world cup but the recent fallout can really affect the team so hoping that everyone can put it behind them and really focus on the cricket
SA: We saw how KKR suffered due to the absence of Narine in the finals. If Narine is found guilty at the International level, how much will it affect their chances?
MD: It’s 2014. We have a guy that has played cricket for a few years now and has done exceptionally well only to be told by those in charge that his action is suspect. Why do we have players getting into the international scene with suspect action at this stage, it’s not fair to a player to start your career and after years you are told this, can’t imagine how Sunil must feel. The ICC has to do a better job, if someone has a suspect action it should be dealt with at the first class level and even before that
SA: Overall, what do you think are the team’s chances? I mean they can beat any opposition on a given day, but do you think they can be consistent enough during the entire tournament?
MD: Our chances are as good as any and better than most but consistency has been a big problem for us, if we play close to the potential the players/team we have I know they will do really well.
SA: And which team do you think are the favourites this time?
MD: I don’t think you can pick one or two teams at this point, you have India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand and you can never underestimate the Australian team. Any of those teams can win if they have a good tournament but I have a good feeling about our boys.
SA: Which is your best cricketing moment?
MD: Every game I played with the likes of Walsh, Ambrose, Brian Lara, Carl Hooper will always standout for me. Winning the Champions Trophy in 2004 was special even though I did not play the finals due to injury. Also winning the Test match in Barbados after losing in Trinidad back in 2002
SA: Which batsman was the most difficult to bowl to?
MD: Adam Gilchrist without a question.
SA: Which bowler did you love bowling in tandem with?
MD: Changed a lot of bowlers that I bowled with but had really good understanding with Pedro Collins and Dinanath Ramnarine in his short career. Sharing the new ball with Walsh was special as well
SA: Brian Lara or Sachin Tendulkar?
MD: Brian is the best I’ve seen. Sachin was as close to batting perfection as it get. I also think Ricky Ponting deserves more credit.