Cricketers pick their favourites

Quick, skiddy and unbelievable

Malcolm Marshall was lightning fast and perhaps the greatest of all the quick bowlers (00:00)

Producer: Ranjit Shinde

April 5, 2012


Malcolm Marshall

Quick, skiddy and unbelievable

April 5, 2012

Malcolm Marshall bowls, England v West Indies, fifth Test, The Oval, 14 August 1984
"The greatest of all the quicks" © Getty Images

Malcolm Marshall, for me, was probably the greatest of all the quicks.

It's only a judgement call. He has great figures, about 370 wickets at 20 point something. But it's not the figure alone.

He could bowl very fast. When he was young he was very, very quick and he kept that up for a long time. If he wanted to, he had the ability to cut down his pace and still be fairly sharp and swing the ball and cut it off the seam. Also, he is one of the few fast bowlers who have gone to Asia, on the slower pitches that only bounce just about stump-high and get wickets, quite a lot of wickets. The reason for that is that most fast bowlers run in with lot of energy and bang the ball in, and if you are bowling on slow pitches it comes off quite slow, gives the batsmen more time to play it. But Marshall skidded the ball. So it actually kept on going, and that is very difficult for us batsmen. And when he bowled a bouncer, it skidded at you, it didn't go in and over your head so easily. So he was an awkward customer. Big heart, strong and very intelligent.

I remember when he first came to Hampshire from Barbados. Andy Roberts was finishing, and they wanted another fast bowler. They asked Peter Short, who was president of Barbados, if they had anybody, and he said, "Well, we have got a young kid who is about 19." And he came over to England, unknown, about 19 years of age, little skinny lad, he ran in with his little steps, and he was like lightning. I thought he was an unbelievable bowler, and I was sad that he passed away with cancer.

I played county cricket against him, played Test match cricket, and I thought he was a great competitor on the field and a smashing guy off the field. When we were taking our bats and pads out of the boot of the car before a county match, he would shout sometimes: "Boycs, are you hooking today?" and I would say, "Not if you are bowling, I am not". And he would just laugh. He would always bowl a bouncer third or fourth ball and I definitely ducked because he was quick. He would finish right close to me, and he would say, "Okay, Boycs, now let the contest begin". He just wanted to let me know that he could bowl quick bouncers and he wanted to see if I was going to try and hook. I thought he was very awkward to hook because he skidded through - he skimmed through at you.

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