Cricketers pick their favourites

'Probably the quickest on the speed gun'

Part seven: Among the best bowlers Alec Stewart faced was Allan Donald, who had some memorable duels with English batsmen (00:00)

Producer: Ranjit Shinde

December 7, 2012


Allan Donald

'Probably the quickest on the speed gun'

December 7, 2012

Alec Stewart unsuccessfully tries to hook Allan Donald, South Africa v England, 4th Test, Cape Town, 1st day, January 2, 2000
Not a good idea to hook Allan Donald © Getty Images

Allan Donald is the only South African in my line-up here. Apologies to Shaun Pollock - you were close to getting in, but I went for [Glenn] McGrath ahead of you.

But Allan Donald was probably the quickest if he was on the speed gun, I would say. A bit like Brett Lee, the Australian - very, very quick through the air, but because of their actions you saw the ball all the way through from when they gathered to when they delivered, whereas other bowlers - I mentioned Wasim Akram earlier, he would hide the ball, he might bowl around the wicket and jump from behind the umpire and then bowl. That seemed even quicker. But with Donald, you saw the ball all the way. Still, have to try and play it.

Very aggressive quick bowler, a great competitor, a very proud South African.

We had some good duels. He knew that I like hooking. Many times that I have played against him. I remember Johannesburg in 1995-96, where he had three men out on the hook, one in front of square and two behind, all on the boundary, and I still tried to take him, which was probably not the most intelligent thing to do. But I enjoyed taking him on. I won some battles and lost some battles.

He's one of the few bowlers who actually hit me - in Port Elizabeth, on that tour. I went to pull him and he hit me in the visor. He followed through and nodded, and I nodded, straightened the visor and carried on. That's part and parcel of being an opening batsman and playing against quick bowling. But I really enjoyed that challenge of playing against him. Fierce competitor, but a good fellow off the field.

Allan Donald, in England, will be remembered for the duel he had with Michael Atherton at Trent Bridge in the 1998 series, which we went on to win.

We lost heavily at Lord's, drew at Edgbaston, then we went to Old Trafford, a game where I got a big hundred. But it was a battle against Donald there and England hung on right at the end. He bowled his heart out, he did. But we just secured the draw and then went on to win the last two Test matches.

But that little passage of play - Allan Donald against Michael Atherton at Trent Bridge, where Athers gloved it through to [Mark] Boucher and was given not out... the 25 minutes after that was as good a piece of international sport - not just cricket but international sport - that you'll ever wish to see, because you had two people at the top of their game, going toe to toe, not wanting to give an inch.

Donald has the advantage of being able to bowl at 95 miles an hour. Athers is one of the toughest cricketers you'll come up against. He had his bat in his hands and he didn't want to lose this little duel, and he didn't. But that, really, summed up for me what Allan Donald was all about, because not long after that Nasser [Hussain] nicked one that Boucher dropped, and you could see Donald crying out a huge yell, and he showed all his expressions and all the emotions. Yet at the end of the over, he then ran down to Mark Boucher and said, "Listen mate, don't worry, catch the next one."

And that to me summed up what Donald is all about.

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (December 10, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

I'm Sri Lankan, but I tell you, he is the best bowler I have ever seen. There is no match for him in the recent history. A gentleman, a great character, a courageous man, and someone who is gifted...

Posted by AdityaMookerjee on (December 8, 2012, 4:21 GMT)

If Donald had been playing when Lillee played for Australia, they would have been regarded equally, but some might have felt, one person bowled better than the other. Donald was efficient, never got injured. Lillee just wanted to frighten batsmen, even if he injured himself.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (December 6, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

Another one of the great bowlers of the 90's- White Lightning. He was frighteningly quick even on placid tracks much more than any of their current bowlers including Steyn. As an Indian fan it was pretty depressing to watch cricket back then as most of the major teams barring us, England and NZ had some excellent bowlers either pace or spin

Comments have now been closed for this article

Play Video
'Saqlain was like an English spinner with a subcontinental touch'

Oct 21, 2014 Part nine: Erapalli Prasanna on a spinner whom even Sachin Tendulkar found hard to bat against (05:16)

Play Video
'Qadir bowled a terrific line with pace and aggression'

Oct 13, 2014 Part eight: Erapalli Prasanna on the Pakistani leggie who was three bowlers in one (05:45)

Play Video
Yasir thrilled with Warne praise

Press Conference: Pakistan debutant Yasir Shah thanks Australian leg-spin legend Shane Warne for his encouraging tweet. (01:09) | Oct 24, 2014

Play Video
'Lack of discipline cost us' - Warner

Press Conference: David Warner says that the way Australia batted on day three was disappointing (01:40) | Oct 24, 2014

Play Video
Pakistan lead by 189 at stumps on Day 3

Video Report: Video report of the third day of the first Test between Pakistan and Australia, in Dubai. (00:48) | Oct 24, 2014