July 28, 2000

Fitting tribute to more than just a fast bowler

Jed Pitman

Malcolm Marshall
Malcolm Marshall
Photo © Hants CCC

Malcolm Marshall Memorial Match

The past became the present at the HAC Ground in the City of London where cricketers from day's game and the modern game gave the late, great Malcolm Denzil Marshall a 12 gun salute at the Artillery Club. With a Caribbean flavour, the sell out crowd revelled beneath the warm sun as players such as Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Sir Vivian Richards, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and comedian, Rory Bremner rolled back the years to celebrate the life of the finest West Indian bowler.

Surrounded by sprawling City office blocks, a perfect pitch offered the batsmen the opportunity to shine with Allan Lamb starring for Robin Smith's Bunbury XI with 70 pugnacious runs which reminded many of his finest international moment when he struck the lanky Australian left arm seamer, Bruce Reid, for a succession of boundaries in the final over of a one-day international in 1987. Graham Thorpe, Mark Nicholas and Mark Butcher were also among the runs while world record holder, Courtney Walsh was, as ever, the pick of the bowlers in an attack that included the unique opening combination of McGrath and Michael Holding.

But this proved to be merely the hors d'oeuvres as Greenidge and, in particular, Haynes gobbled up the Bunbury attack including Mike Gatting, Phil Tufnell and Bremner. The discussion on the boundary was why Haynes had given up the first-class game as a range of impudent strokes saw him reach 50 in double quick time as the Viv Richards International XI cruised past their target of 239. Greenidge eased his way to 63 - without his famous limp - while Richards, Alvin Kallicharran and Justin Langer offered the cameos. The only player to miss out was Brian Lara who was bowled by the ever impressive impressionist, Bremner.

The match was merely a backdrop as more than £27,000 was raised for Marshall's son, Mali. The talk around the ground was of his father who was sadly missed by so many of his former team mates and cricket lovers around the world.