Garth McKenzie on Ray Lindwall

Giant footsteps

The great fast bowler who showed kids the way it was done

Smooth operator: Lindwall in immaculate action © Getty Images

Ray Lindwall sucked me in from a young age. I watched him live two or three times when I was about 12. Australia were travelling to England in 1953 and the team were practising at Perth. I may have even bunked a class or two to have a look at the national heroes.

Those were the days when I used to visualise myself as him in the back of my mind. I don't think I realised back then that I imitated his bowling quite a bit in my own action - and this despite the fact that I didn't get to watch him in action too many times.

I used to hear about him on the radio a lot, though, and that kept my interest in Lindwall alive. For me, the most impressive thing about his bowling was his lovely, smooth action. And since I wanted to be a fast bowler myself, I would think: "Aw, that's the way you do it." Maybe that helped me develop my smooth approach to the crease during my playing years.

Interestingly in the 1959-60 season, my first game for Western Australia - in which I was the 12th man - was his last game for Queensland, and the last first-class game he played in Australia. I didn't say much, but I was very proud to just sit there and watch him. I was definitely awed by the occasion but it was a nice moment all the same.

As told to Nagraj Gollapudi. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine