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'He was going to run all over you'
Part six: Allan Donald on the most intimidating bowlers he has seen. Right up there: Malcolm Marshall
Produced by: Gokul Chakravarthy; Interviewer: Nagraj Gollapudi
June 18, 2013
Allan Donald's XI most intimidating bowlers
'He was going to run all over you'June 18, 2013
My first run-in with Marshall, was as a young kid playing my first county game for Warwickshire… my second county match, in fact, against Hampshire. Mark Nicholas was captain [of Hampshire].
I'd read so many books about him Wisden, Cricketer magazine, looked at so many photos of him, looked at lots of videos at Hansie Cronje's house when we looked at just Test matches - West Indies versus England or whatever. And now I had the opportunity of watching this guy go about his business on completely the flattest wicket in English county cricket, which is Edgbaston, during that time.
I walked out of the change room and I sat, because the pitch was nearer the Rea Bank Stand at Edgbaston, near the Colts ground, B field. So I walked right around and I sat in the stand there, and I just watched this guy run in all day.
He was not a tall man. He was skiddy. He had the knack, the skill, of swinging the ball both ways. He took 11 wickets in the game in three days. When I got to the crease eventually, there was a huddle, and I walked past and he said, "Were you the kid sitting in that stand earlier?" I didn't wanna say anything. I don't know what was coming.
And I was waiting for something quite harsh to come and he tapped me on the back of my head and he goes, "Good luck, son."
It took him two balls - just two balls. Just lost my off stump and he swung it away like this.
I think the one thing that set him apart is that you can just tell when someone is so in control of everything; so skilful. He probably wasn't as quick then in '89 as he was back a few years earlier but still fairly sharp. Bowled a heavy ball, and he just worked the crease. Came from close, from mid-crease to wide, just worked the crease the whole day. And his control was just absolutely magnificent, and for Mark Nicholas to carry three slips during that time on a flat pitch where he just swung the ball both ways was just… it was just poetry.
That to me is the most intimidating thing about Malcolm Marshall - the skill factor. Just out-thinking you all the time. Top batters, just lining them up, just setting them up for failure.
The saddest day for me was when in 1999, right after that World Cup, he was diagnosed with cancer and it was literally over. I would never forget that time when I sat with Malcolm in Hampshire in 1995, when I spent a whole session just picking his brains. He told some great stories that you just sat there with your mouth open and listening to this guy talk about the time when they were in Australia and how they cleaned up Australia. And I just thought I wanted to have this guy's mindset.
He had this passion for knocking over batsmen. This passion for hurting batsmen and this passion for helping others, and that to me was priceless. I learnt so much.
Andy Lloyd, who was my captain at Warwickshire, Malcolm ended his career in two balls. I saw the photo of Lloyd lying on the ground and holding his face. It was two balls in a Test and it was all over.
He had this thing about this pain factor that he always talked about. He found a lot of pleasure of really not only just intimidating them but he found a lot of pleasure in saying, "You know, I wanna dish out pain." He hit a lot of batsmen all over the place.
He just saw an opponent as a major threat and he was gonna run all over you, regardless, and he'd find a way quickly. I think his way was to intimidate you quickly. Once you are a winded animal you're gonna get taken down at some stage. That was his greatness. That's the thing that hit home for me - that kind of thinking.
It made sense because you are competing with one another. But to remove you quickly, and painfully sometimes, that was always going to be the case. But that sort of thinking really got me thinking too.
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