May 27, 2000

5 More For 'Old Dog'

St. John's 'Courtney Walsh usually sends down his vicious off-cutters in the middle.

The old warrior, however, chose to go beyond the boundary yesterday to respond to a 'batsman'who tried to knock him out of the attack two weeks ago.

'There is still a little bit of life in the old dog,'the 37-year-old Jamaican fast bowler said in response to a suggestion from CANA writer Ezra Stuart that he should not have been selected for the tour of England.

Walsh's comment came on a day he polished off the Pakistan first innings to collect his second five-wicket haul in successive matches, his 19th in 117 Tests and his 100th in just over 400 first-class matches.

'I just try to enjoy my cricket, but whenever the chips are down and people write me off, I just try to remind them that I'm still around playing,'he said.

'I was a little bit surprised at the last one, because I think it was totally uncalled for.'

He was specifically referring to Stuart's suggestion, which was made during a regionally-televised Press conference in which the West Indies squad for England was announced.

'Whatever people want to say, it is their prerogative or preference, but sometimes it is a little bit disturbing to keep hearing it on and on,'Walsh added.

Test cricket's most durable player said the negative feedback had in no way bothered him.

He was, instead, more concerned about what effect it had on the new crop of young fast bowlers.

'They are trying to establish their careers and they say, `If they can do it to Walshie, what will they do to me'?'I'm just trying to educate them, to tell them to block that out of their system right now.

'When they have a bad game, some of the guys think that everybody is going to come down against them.'

Promise

Walsh believes that Reon King, Franklyn Rose and Nixon McLean have promise, but sometimes lack the consistency.

'We are hoping that before myself and Curtly (Ambrose) leave that they will take over the mantle fully,'he said.

'I'm hoping that before we leave, they can show their worth and class.'

While Walsh insists he can go on, he remains non-committal about the future.

'As I said before, I'm looking at the English tour first before I make any other remarks,'he said.

'I'm trying to focus on that. We haven't done well overseas for a while.

'I think it's very, very important we try to go to England with our best team and try and win that series.'