March 19, 2001

Walsh becomes the first man to 500 Test wickets


Courtney Walsh has created history by becoming the first bowler to take 500 Test wickets.

Bowling in the Second Test between West Indies and South Africa in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, Walsh took the wicket of Gary Kirsten, caught behind, to move to 499 victims before trapping Kallis lbw just two balls later to reach 500.

Courtney Walsh
Walsh: 500 Test wickets
Photo © CricInfo

A Test career that began against Australia back in 1984-85 in Perth, has seen the Jamaican achieve success all around the world, playing his 100th Test, against England in Georgetown, Guyana in February 1998.

Such sustained success is testament to extraordinary levels of fitness, skill and determination. Always reliable, and often inspired he has taken wickets against all opposition, on all surfaces. Capable of pace and hostility, he has, in recent years concentrated on consistency and seam movement to trouble batsman, even adding a wonderfully deceptive slower-ball to his armoury in his mid-30s.

His career has encompassed plenty of 'highs' in West Indian cricket, and a few 'lows' as he has seen his team dominate in the 80s and 90s before enduring harder times recently.

Walsh's bowling has remained a constant, however. Originally content to provide excellent support to the likes of Garner, Marshall and Holding, he has become an increasingly important member of the West Indies side, eventually taking the new ball and forming a great partnership with Curtley Ambrose.

Happy to bear a heavy work-load both for the West Indies, and in domestic cricket for Jamaica and Gloucestershire (he has also captained all three teams), he has snared nearly 1800 first-class wickets in all.

The achievement can, perhaps, be compared to Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile barrier. Although others may well pass the landmark in future it is far from certain that a seamer will ever do so again.