Fast bowlers July 12, 2010

Lean, mean pace machines

West Indies' fast-bowling reservoir was so deep, they could have had an XI full of quick men and still have to leave some out
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West Indies cricket and fast bowling go together like a horse and a carriage. Like their exciting middle-order batsmen, West Indies fast bowlers - and definitely so up to 20 or so years ago - seemed to pop up day after day. Most were fast enough to make batsmen tremble in their boots, and the majority of them are numbered among the best of their time - a few among the best of all time.

From the days of Learie Constantine, George Francis and Herman Griffith, through the likes of Manny Martindale, Leslie Hylton, Hines Johnson, Roy Gilchrist, Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith, to the fearsome quartet of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Colin Croft, and later on to the likes of Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, fast bowlers have been the bread and butter of West Indies cricket.

Constantine, it is written, was as fast as any bowler of his time; Herman Griffith, the man who became a household name in the Caribbean after bowling Don Bradman for 0 in the fifth Test of 1930-31, was all quality. The Indians of the 1958-59 series will confirm that Gilchrist was undoubtedly one of the fastest of his time. The pair of Hall and Charlie Griffith was one of the great ones in the history of the game, and no batsman who had the misfortune of facing them in the 1970s going into the 80s, doubted the quality, the skill and the class of Roberts, Holding, Garner and Croft. They were four big men, all standing over six feet, one at 6ft 7in, and another at 6ft 8in. They were all fast but brought different skills to the combination, and batting against them was a nightmare.

So rich is the history of fast bowling in West Indies cricket that selecting the three quicks on the all-time West Indies team is no easy task. In fact, even if the job was to select an all-time West Indies team of fast bowlers, batting from No. 1 to No. 11, there would still be some great ones left behind.

The contenders

Wes Hall
A big man with an intimidating approach and follow-through, Hall was the first of the modern West Indies fast bowlers. He formed a deadly duo, first with Roy Gilchrist and then with Charlie Griffith; he and Griffith are numbered among the world's greatest fast-bowling pairs. In 48 Test matches, Hall took 192 wickets at an average of 26.38.

Charlie Griffith
The same height but much bigger than Hall, Griffith was accurate and deadly, especially so with his yorkers, which usually knocked over stumps, and his bouncers, which normally knocked down batsmen. In 28 Test matches, Griffith took 94 wickets at an average of 28.54.

Andy Roberts
If Hall was the first of the modern West Indies fast bowlers, Roberts was certainly the big brother of the breed that conquered the world - the set that included Holding, Croft and Garner. Known for his well-disguised bouncer, Roberts took 202 wickets in 47 Test matches at an average of 25.61.

Michael Holding
The Rolls Royce of fast bowlers, Holding was smooth from run-up to delivery. He was fast - as fast if not faster than any of his colleagues - he was fiery, and yet he had the look of a choir boy, even at The Oval in 1976 while destroying England with 14 wickets for 149 runs. In 60 Test matches, Holding took 249 wickets at an average of 23.68.

Colin Croft
One of the most underrated fast bowlers of his time, Croft was a perfect match for the other three members of the quartet that propelled West Indies to the top of world cricket. Roberts was the wise one, Holding the quiet destroyer who delivered some nasty yorkers, Garner the man who got the ball to jump off a fairly good length, and Croft, with his awkward action that so often got the ball to leave right-hand batsmen when it should have been coming in to them, moved the ball off the seam prodigiously. In 27 Test matches, he took 125 wickets at an average of 23.30.

Joel Garner
Standing at 6ft 8in, Garner was a batsman's nightmare. At the point of delivery, as Geoffrey Boycott once said, the ball seemed to be coming out of the sky, and it was almost impossible to pick its length. Because of that, batsmen the world over spent most of their time trying to survive rather than to score runs. In 58 Test matches, Garner took 259 wickets at the amazing average of 20.97.

Malcolm Marshall
Unlike the other great West Indies fast bowlers, Marshall was a little man. In fact, to look at, he seemed more a batsman or a slow bowler. But he was fast, moved the ball both ways, in and out, and possessed a nasty bouncer. In 81 Test matches, Marshall took 376 wickets at an average of 20.94.

Courtney Walsh
A gentle giant, Walsh was Mr Consistency. He generally bowled just short of a good length. He was dependable, was the "work horse" of the great West Indies team of his time, and astonishingly, in terms of wickets taken he seemed to have gotten better the older he got. In 132 Test matches, he took 519 wickets at an average of 24.44.

Curtly Ambrose
Standing at 6ft 7in, Ambrose was one of the tallest of the great West Indies fast bowlers, and it was only natural that he got the ball to bounce awkwardly from an almost perfect length. He dropped it on the same spot delivery after delivery and batsmen found it nearly impossible to play him, forget score against him, as was the case in Perth in the 1992-93 series, when he smashed Australia with seven wickets for one run in 32 deliveries. In 98 Test matches, Ambrose took 405 wickets at an average of 20.99.

Ian Bishop
If ever a bowler appeared destined for greatness, it was Bishop. Coming in off a lovely run-up, he had a beautiful side-on action, good pace, and got the ball to mostly leave the right-hander. However, after a promising start, injury cut him down on two occasions, and he was forced to change his action. Although he remained good enough to compete and deliver, he never achieved what he seemed destined to do. In 43 Test matches, Bishop took 161 wickets at an average of 24.27.

We'll be publishing an all-time West Indies XI based on readers' votes to go with our jury's XI. To pick your fast bowlers click here

Former sports editor of the Jamaica Gleaner and the Daily News, Tony Becca has covered West Indies cricket for 30 years

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Yagga175 on July 15, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    Sylvester Clarke, Roy Gilchrist, Colin Croft and Charlie Griffith cos I want to scare the opposition out!!

    Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner cos I want to bowl them out.

    If we HAVE to have a "balanced" attack then Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall and Lance Gibbs. Possibly substitute Clarke for Holding - same pace but more aggro!

  • RealWI on July 15, 2010, 14:55 GMT

    The selection panel use the bowlers with the best strike/rate, average, economy/rate, etc to help separate the great bowlers from the good once. Now the problem is selecting just 3 bowlers. One must remember that Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh, Garner, Bishop and Croft had the luxury of playing with great pace bowling support. Garner and Croft came into the team in1977 at that time we had 2 great bowlers operating, in Roberts and Holding, which made their transition much easier. That tradition of 4 great pace continued for the next 20 years. I'm going to use a bowler average in the Asia sub-continent, bowlers lock of support, quality of the opponent and the roll a bowler play in winning. As a result, I have to pick Roberts and Holding simple because they laid the foundation of our great pace attack. Final pick is Marshall because I think he was the greatest of them all and he played against better opponent than Ambrose.

  • emmwill on July 14, 2010, 20:04 GMT

    A very difficult decision to make. Subjectively, I would go with Marshall, Ambrose, and Golding. Objectively, based on averages and strike rates, I would go with Marshall, Garner, and Ambrose. Y all-time WI 11: Greenidge, Worrel (c), Lara, Headley, Richards, Sobers, Dujon (wk), Gibbs, Marshall, Ambrose, Garner.

  • Veblen on July 14, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    I don't need averages or strike rates for this one...I saw England beaten out of sight in 1984! Holding, Marshall, Garner and throw in Ambrose. I don't care how good Gibbs was, most opposition won't see an old ball anyway and Sobers could always bowl a few spinners....pick the best 4 bowlers

  • Metman on July 14, 2010, 18:10 GMT

    @Battled !All of the pace machines put forward by the panel HAD pace,control of line and length,swing,seam and bounce etc.and were successful at them,that is why they were chosen by the panel!That is why I said previously that the panel made it easier for me ,when they asked for 3.If I had to pick a 4th,I would have gone for Walsh,simply because ,that he maintained his average/strike rate/economy rate etc,for a longer time , and within striking distance of Holding,Croft,and Bishop .Also the fact that he took 519 wickets,which is over 4 times that of Croft,over 3 and a half that of Bishop,and twice that of Holding.That is why you cannot separate Marshall,Garner,Ambrose.You talked about pace,have you ever seen Wes Hall in FULL FLIGHT?This is not a criticism of you in choosing Holding in your line up you know!but as I said before,a team that I would get off my sick bed to see must include an opening pace attack of Hall and Holding.

  • Silverstar on July 14, 2010, 16:40 GMT

    y no mention of tino best? since we r discussing the "best" three bowlers? ... NO? ok lol

  • Battled on July 14, 2010, 12:59 GMT

    Guys......... I have read every post on this topic and found talks about averages, strikerates, economy rates etc etc etc......... Let me say one thing......... when one has to select bowlers in an all-time 11 rather than looking only at stats (it helps...... to an extent) its also a better option to look into the variety each bowler can offer. In pace bowlers the options to look in are pace, control of line & length, swing, seam, bounce, etc............ imagine a pace attack having 3 fast bowlers doing just one or two of the above????? It would be monotonous and become easy for the batsmen to adapt against the entire team!!!!! In this scenario I would opt a WI all time 11 with their 3 pace bowlers with variety; Holding (pace and strike ability), Marshall (swing, seam, and pace) and coin toss for Garner or Ambrose (control, bounce)........... i guess this is... as one says... VARIED attack...

  • Metman on July 14, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    @Alonsoe,if I had done like YOU and many others,I would have gone ahead and pick my all time great WI XI,and included all Bajans,and I wont have been that far off either!that is why I came up with the BajanXI.Dont get confused!I said I didnt pick the Bajan CONTENDERS that the panel put forward.Sylvester Clarke"s name was mentioned since the topic was about great fast bowlers.knowledgeable cricket followers and past cricketers who have played against him have said that he was probably the most fearsome of the lot!I have seen him in action and I know that he be quite dangerous!All that foolish talk about, Chanderpaul,and Richards opening.and Greenidge failing in Australia and all that jargon about Warne and Murli is RUBBISH!and I am telling you the same thing!THEY ARE NOT IN THE DISCUSSION!As I said before,Stats include a lot more than av/strike rates/economy rates etc.,but I will get back to that topic if Harper is included in the spinners list.

  • trepuR on July 14, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    For me, I automaticaly went with Malcolm Marshal for my first pick, and after some research, I went with Joel Garner to join him. However, Roberts, Holding and Ambrose are so close. I will probably go with Holding for variety, (with Garner and Ambrose simmilar in their height). This was incredibly hard though, only choosing three from this list of champions, but it must be said that a spinner as good as Lance Gibbs is simply to good to leave out of the side.

  • on July 14, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    The list is significantly incomplete. Where are Martindale and Herman Griffith? What about Sylvester Clarke and Wayne Daniel? Similarly the failure to include Franklyn Stevenson in the all rounder category is an oversight which hurts the quality of the discussion. My 3 fast bowlers... Marshall, Garner vs Ambrose (I refuse to decide), young Ian Bishop (before the injury), with Sobers of course as the all rounder.

  • Yagga175 on July 15, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    Sylvester Clarke, Roy Gilchrist, Colin Croft and Charlie Griffith cos I want to scare the opposition out!!

    Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner cos I want to bowl them out.

    If we HAVE to have a "balanced" attack then Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall and Lance Gibbs. Possibly substitute Clarke for Holding - same pace but more aggro!

  • RealWI on July 15, 2010, 14:55 GMT

    The selection panel use the bowlers with the best strike/rate, average, economy/rate, etc to help separate the great bowlers from the good once. Now the problem is selecting just 3 bowlers. One must remember that Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh, Garner, Bishop and Croft had the luxury of playing with great pace bowling support. Garner and Croft came into the team in1977 at that time we had 2 great bowlers operating, in Roberts and Holding, which made their transition much easier. That tradition of 4 great pace continued for the next 20 years. I'm going to use a bowler average in the Asia sub-continent, bowlers lock of support, quality of the opponent and the roll a bowler play in winning. As a result, I have to pick Roberts and Holding simple because they laid the foundation of our great pace attack. Final pick is Marshall because I think he was the greatest of them all and he played against better opponent than Ambrose.

  • emmwill on July 14, 2010, 20:04 GMT

    A very difficult decision to make. Subjectively, I would go with Marshall, Ambrose, and Golding. Objectively, based on averages and strike rates, I would go with Marshall, Garner, and Ambrose. Y all-time WI 11: Greenidge, Worrel (c), Lara, Headley, Richards, Sobers, Dujon (wk), Gibbs, Marshall, Ambrose, Garner.

  • Veblen on July 14, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    I don't need averages or strike rates for this one...I saw England beaten out of sight in 1984! Holding, Marshall, Garner and throw in Ambrose. I don't care how good Gibbs was, most opposition won't see an old ball anyway and Sobers could always bowl a few spinners....pick the best 4 bowlers

  • Metman on July 14, 2010, 18:10 GMT

    @Battled !All of the pace machines put forward by the panel HAD pace,control of line and length,swing,seam and bounce etc.and were successful at them,that is why they were chosen by the panel!That is why I said previously that the panel made it easier for me ,when they asked for 3.If I had to pick a 4th,I would have gone for Walsh,simply because ,that he maintained his average/strike rate/economy rate etc,for a longer time , and within striking distance of Holding,Croft,and Bishop .Also the fact that he took 519 wickets,which is over 4 times that of Croft,over 3 and a half that of Bishop,and twice that of Holding.That is why you cannot separate Marshall,Garner,Ambrose.You talked about pace,have you ever seen Wes Hall in FULL FLIGHT?This is not a criticism of you in choosing Holding in your line up you know!but as I said before,a team that I would get off my sick bed to see must include an opening pace attack of Hall and Holding.

  • Silverstar on July 14, 2010, 16:40 GMT

    y no mention of tino best? since we r discussing the "best" three bowlers? ... NO? ok lol

  • Battled on July 14, 2010, 12:59 GMT

    Guys......... I have read every post on this topic and found talks about averages, strikerates, economy rates etc etc etc......... Let me say one thing......... when one has to select bowlers in an all-time 11 rather than looking only at stats (it helps...... to an extent) its also a better option to look into the variety each bowler can offer. In pace bowlers the options to look in are pace, control of line & length, swing, seam, bounce, etc............ imagine a pace attack having 3 fast bowlers doing just one or two of the above????? It would be monotonous and become easy for the batsmen to adapt against the entire team!!!!! In this scenario I would opt a WI all time 11 with their 3 pace bowlers with variety; Holding (pace and strike ability), Marshall (swing, seam, and pace) and coin toss for Garner or Ambrose (control, bounce)........... i guess this is... as one says... VARIED attack...

  • Metman on July 14, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    @Alonsoe,if I had done like YOU and many others,I would have gone ahead and pick my all time great WI XI,and included all Bajans,and I wont have been that far off either!that is why I came up with the BajanXI.Dont get confused!I said I didnt pick the Bajan CONTENDERS that the panel put forward.Sylvester Clarke"s name was mentioned since the topic was about great fast bowlers.knowledgeable cricket followers and past cricketers who have played against him have said that he was probably the most fearsome of the lot!I have seen him in action and I know that he be quite dangerous!All that foolish talk about, Chanderpaul,and Richards opening.and Greenidge failing in Australia and all that jargon about Warne and Murli is RUBBISH!and I am telling you the same thing!THEY ARE NOT IN THE DISCUSSION!As I said before,Stats include a lot more than av/strike rates/economy rates etc.,but I will get back to that topic if Harper is included in the spinners list.

  • trepuR on July 14, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    For me, I automaticaly went with Malcolm Marshal for my first pick, and after some research, I went with Joel Garner to join him. However, Roberts, Holding and Ambrose are so close. I will probably go with Holding for variety, (with Garner and Ambrose simmilar in their height). This was incredibly hard though, only choosing three from this list of champions, but it must be said that a spinner as good as Lance Gibbs is simply to good to leave out of the side.

  • on July 14, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    The list is significantly incomplete. Where are Martindale and Herman Griffith? What about Sylvester Clarke and Wayne Daniel? Similarly the failure to include Franklyn Stevenson in the all rounder category is an oversight which hurts the quality of the discussion. My 3 fast bowlers... Marshall, Garner vs Ambrose (I refuse to decide), young Ian Bishop (before the injury), with Sobers of course as the all rounder.

  • on July 14, 2010, 11:10 GMT

    Indeed a very difficult job, to select JUST 3 of the WI fast bowlers, and at times, just 'fast' sounds like an understatement! I would, however, go with Garner and Roberts, along with Walsh. Here is my All-time WI Test XI (doing a bit of an adjustment in the openers' slot): Everton Weeks, Frank Worrel (c), George Headley, Brian Lara, Vivian Richards, Gary Sobers, Clyde Walcott (wk), Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Courtney Walsh, Michael Holding/Lance Gibbs

  • lsd123 on July 14, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    How to pick 3 from above list. Very hard selection. But Malcom Marshall is the automatic first choice. Ambrose will be next. Then how can select last one??? For my last choice Holding, Roberts and Garner. I'll keep Roberts away by comparing the averages. Then how can i pick one from Holding and Garner. Garner is the best for ODI but less than 21 for Test Avg. Holding was the one of best four seems in West Indian line up. Fina,lly i go for Garner. Best 3 Marshall, Ambrose and Garner.

  • harikeshan on July 14, 2010, 8:05 GMT

    A Captain Dream....or nightmare who do keep? who do you drop?....they were all damn good be at home or away.

  • damri on July 14, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    Why aren't these guys there? - Patrick Patterson, Keith Boyce, Wayne Daniel, Lance Gibbs, Roy Gilchrist, Sylvester Clarke, Vanburn Holder.

    Just imagining Sylvester Clarke, Patterson and Roy Gilchrist as reserve team members is enough to send shivers down any opposition batting line up on any surface

  • dpkhbk on July 14, 2010, 4:38 GMT

    @kirksisland:stop that joke about Mcgrath being one of the greatest bowlers of all time behind marshall.even among australian bowlers he is always voted by his own country players as behind lilee lindwall and thomson .and among his generation ambrose and akram were far better bowlers who had the ability to rip apart batsmen on flat subcontinental pitches.i know you will come up with stupid averages but that is not going to change the truth. my west indies eleven.gordon greenidge roy fredericks richards lara kanhai sobers dujon marshall garner ambrose and holding. i would have sobers bowl spin if needed :)

  • on July 14, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    It is a tough job but I would go with Marshal,Garner and my favourite Ambrose.I feel sorry for Roberts,Holding,Walsh and Bishop.

  • alonsoe on July 14, 2010, 2:28 GMT

    Metman calm down. Don't do what U are accusing others of doing. Remember it was you who brought up the B'dos 11 and S. Clark story even if that was not in the discussion. How do you deem Clark to be more dangerous_ Stats or Sentiments? But let's play with stats and put Chanderpaul to open. He has opened and his average is better than any of the openers on the list. And since Viv can't make your mid order Y not put him to open. When GG was failing in Aussi it was Viv who went up and dominated. His average is better than any of the openers on the list. And Gibbs, dose not Harper has a better bowling average and strike rate than him, and a better bat'in average as well. I ask about Jacob ( like others did) can Y tell us that all the keepers on the list had better stats than him. And all who rank Warne above Murili, don't they know that Murili has the better stats. But like me, they are sentimental. Don't worry Met, we are not going to drop GG. It is not all about stats.

  • realredbaron on July 14, 2010, 1:09 GMT

    Sydney66 is an Aussie without brain. I bet he is a Howard supporter. Gilchrist, Bradman or whoever you bring in front of Garner, Marshall, Holding and Ambrose-the Aussies would collapse on the pitch from the fear of facing them. And talking about Shane Warne, there are plenty of batsman who smacked Warny around the park without any trouble including the Bangladeshi batsman on a spinning slow Bangladeshi wicket. West Indies all time XI is the best all time XI in the world. Aussies don't even come 2nd best. You don't believe me? Take a poll around here and my opinion would win over yours by 99% margin.

  • rson on July 13, 2010, 22:24 GMT

    For all those who are quick to dismiss Lance Gibbs because of his high strike rate it should be noted that of all bowlers with 100 Test wickets Gibbs is the only one with an economy rate under 2.0.A bowling average of under 30 for an offspinner isn't too shabby either.

  • on July 13, 2010, 18:28 GMT

    Well i dont really know much about team selection.. but what i feel after seeing these 10 pace men is just pick all these 10 pace men with the safe house jeff dujon behind the sticks.. With the players capable of taking 7 for 1, LOL wy do we need batsmen in this team..

  • on July 13, 2010, 18:21 GMT

    Wow just reading about these guys feels so good,why cant we have bowlers like these now a days,cricket is got so boring without such bowlers,just pick all of them,though not possible so i would go with Joel Garner,Malcom Marshall and Curtly Ambrose

  • bbpp on July 13, 2010, 18:07 GMT

    I see that people are choosing based on the islands they are from and some simply don't have a clue! The sure picks would be Greenidge as one opener, our best four batters across the various eras - the Atlas era, the Sobers era, the Master Blaster era and the Prince era, each spanning roughly 15-20 years where they were the premier batsman in the team, if not the world during those years. Sobers is the all-rounder and our best bowler is Maco with Ambrose my number two and Gibbs as the spinner for balance and diff. conditions (I know we had a great four prong but Worrell worked wonders with spinners also!) and Sobers can be the fourth seamer.

    Based on which island you're from either Haynes or Hunte to partner Greenidge, keeper either Dujon (my preference) or Murray or Walcott any one from Holding, Roberts, Hall or Garner since they are all truly great fast bowlers. Unfortunate that Weekes, Worrell, Kanhai etc. not in.

    I agree that B/dos can field an all time great XI also!

  • emailmkarthik on July 13, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    this list of bowlers is so scary!! how is it possible to drop people from here? Anyways my choice would be Holding, Garner, Ambrose, Marshall if I had to pick only 4 quickies.

  • Mikeygd on July 13, 2010, 17:34 GMT

    I have read most of the posted comments and I do agree that it is difficult to choose only 3 from such a distinguished list. Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith was just before my time and haven't had the pleasure of seeing them on video so I did not vote for them. However Malcolm Marshall for me is the greatest. My 3 fast bowlers comprised of Marshall, Holding and Ambrose.

  • Metman on July 13, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    @alonsoe!Viv Richards team didnt win series and matches because of his captaincy,The team won because he had men of the calibre of Greenidge ,Haynes,Marshall,Garner,Holding and the same Roberts in his team.Viv ,Roberts and Holding alone could not make a team do well.If that was the case Lara,Ambrose and Walsh in the same team of late would have been world beaters,too !By the way ,averages/strike rates/stats,tell you how reliable a batsman is,how many runs he is likely to score,how many runs he is likely to score against pace and spin and a host of other things that opposition coaches look for.Strike rates tell how often a bowler is likely to take a wicket,when a bowler is most likely to take a wicket,and a host of other things that opposition coaches look for.I am saying that YOU AND ALL THE OTHERS who submitted comments would have HAD to refer to the Av/strike/stats. BEFORE arriving at your decisions.Some of them you accepted , others you ignored when it suits you.

  • Silverstar on July 13, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    the best 11 is : G. Greenidge, R. Fredericks, G. Headley(C), B. Lara, Viv. Richards, C. Walcott(WK/VC), G. Sobers, M. Holding, C. Ambrose, M. Marshall, J. Garner.

    Squad would have 5 reserves being : J. Dujon(wk), D. Haynes, C. Lloyd, A. Roberts and L, Gibbs.

    Honestly im all for four pacers but an all time 11 definitely needs to be suited for all types of pitches so on slow pitches L Gibbs sure be in the 11 ahead of maybe Ambrose. most of the batsmen are killers but in terms of heavy runs the two that stand out are number 3 and 4... ( Headley and Lara) millions of runs batting together... VIV and others wud pinch totals like 156 from 89 deliveries lol ...you know, the usual LOL!

  • Metman on July 13, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    @Alonsoe!Mr.Antiguan,we are living in the REAL world,not a perfect world nor a fantasy world.First of all,I am not on the panel,and secondly,I did not pick the Bajan contenders.In this real world,people will pick players based on averages alone,some will used averages when it suits them ,together with favourites,others will simply go for their favourites alone, or they own countrymen,so dont insult my intelligence by saying that if the panel wanted a team based on av.,alone,there would be no need for this exercise.You said people would come out to see Viv,Andy and Holding,AGREE 100 percent!but crowds will also come out to see Hall,Griffith,Weekes,Walcott,Clarke,Nurse and I can go on and on!Why do you think players like Ganga,Stuart Williams,Arthurton,Logie,Jacobs,the two Benjamins ,Julien and the like were not among the contenders?Because the panel looked at the AVERGAGES/STRIKE RATES!otherwise it would have been a free for all,with people coming with rediculous selections.

  • on July 13, 2010, 16:06 GMT

    Marshall is a certainity. Rest we need to see. West Indies has produced some many greats that is hard to pick up 11. Only Sir Garfied Sobers,Sir Viv Richards, Marshall, Greednidge seem to be certain picks. For the rest there is enormous competition amonst some of greatest names the games has ever known.

  • waspsting on July 13, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    first off - agree that the best 11 would contain 4 quicks and no spinner.

    given the choices though - Marshall - best of all. Garner - great bowler and amazingly underrated (his average, economy rate and strike rate are all better than Holding and Roberts - and he didn't use the new ball nearly as often). Holding - dangerous and classy. Ambrose misses out because i think Garner a shade better, and they were similar bowlers. Roberts misses out because i think Holding the more dangerous. If i could pick 4 quicks - Ambrose would get in. Batsmen wouldn't get a run against Ambrose and Garner, and marshall and holding were pure lethal.

  • ww113 on July 13, 2010, 13:42 GMT

    My two favourites among West Indian fast bowlers : Malcolm Marshal at his peak was an exhilarating sight.Sylvester Clarke was a fearsome fast bowler who never got sufficient chances. Sadly they both died relatively young.

  • intcamd on July 13, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    Marshall, Holding, Garner, Ambrose. As many said, it is beyond ridiculous to say WI SHOULD have 3 pace 1 spin, as if done by a formula - which is precise what Cricinfo is doing.

  • Antir on July 13, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    I used to love watching Holding bowl it was truly beautiful sight to see plus the pace was just incredible. Marshall definitely. Now to choose between Garner and Ambrose. I pick both, imagine bringing one on to bowl and then the other when one got tired. Sobers can do the spinning, nuff said. Gibbs can replace Lara as twelfth man and they can rotate Garner and Ambrose when needed.

  • upsrockstar on July 13, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    My all time WI XI : Xavier Marshall,Travis Dowlin,Floyd Reifer,Dale Richards,Omar Phillips,Andre Fletcher,Carlton Baugh,Gavin Tonge,Brendon Bess.Omari Banks,Nelon Pascal In a nutshell "THE INVINCIBLES"...........

  • Metman on July 13, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    Hey Alonsoe!That is the same thing that I was pointing out!You are Antiguan ,and you include Richards,and Roberts.Sometime ago ,instead of choosing a keeper,you asked why is Jacobs not in the lineup.Jamaicans would choose Headley over Richards if they had a choice,Dujon over Jacobs and Holding over Roberts. If you had checked the last 3 lines of his profile,you would have understood whyJacobs was not included in the lineup. That is WHY we have computers.Why did you choose Headley over Lara,big man?BECAUSE OF HIS AVERAGES!why did you choose Richards over Lara?because you are from Antigua.Trinis would choose Lara over Richards!So who is insulting ones intelligence by your double standards,Mr.Antiguan?The panel didnt asked us to pick an XI,that would bring out the crowds,if that was the case,Fredericks,Richards,Hall and Holding,would replace Hunte,Headley,Marshall and Gibbs in my XI.My XI is a balanced XI,dont be a COWARD!give me YOUR balanced XI!

  • Proteas_Supporter on July 13, 2010, 11:51 GMT

    i will go with holding, ambrose and walsh. sorry for the other bowlers. i've seen a lot of walsh and ambrose bowling, they become an automatic selection for me and the world knows how lethal and deadly they can be. for the third spot there was an toss up between garner and holding but i finally went for holding "WHISPERING DEATH". u cannot separate hall and griffith, so i left them and other bowlers really sorry for them. hopefully cricinfo puts an all time fast bowling eleven for the W.I in the future......

  • kentjones on July 13, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    It is really difficult to pick from the list provided. Any of these could easily fit into a world eleven. It shows the riches that the WI has garnered over the years. For me to select any from the others is like a betrayal. Just cant do!!!

  • george204 on July 13, 2010, 9:40 GMT

    I agree with the other posters that it HAS to be 4 fast bowlers - it's so much a part of the WI heritage now & much as Gibbs was prolific, Ramadin/Valentine mysterious & Harper athletic, none of them were GREAT bowlers.

    Anyway, if the panel rigidly applies the 1 allrounder/3 pacemen/1 spinner format to all sides, then India are going to have a rather weak bowling attack! I'm looking forward to the comment thread where we argue about that one spinner!

  • ak1983 on July 13, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    Marshall, , Ambrose,Gibbs,Holding

  • don69 on July 13, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    I agree there have been plenty of good WI spinners, BUT the great WI team of the 80s that I went to watch kicking us in the backside at the SCG in the 80s had no designated spinner. just a relentless attack that battered you with pace for 90 overs in a day (assuming you survived those 90 overs...). and it is without argument one of the 3 best teams ever assembled. I'm assuming both Viv and Sobers have to be included in the XI and both were more than adequate spinners (Sobers much more than adequate). that aside, with the state of current pitches on the islands, a specialist spinner makes more sense. sadly, no pace and bounce anymore on those pitches.

  • postsituationist on July 13, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    You say "Standing at 6ft 7in, Ambrose was one of the tallest of the great West Indies fast bowlers,"

    He was not. Why do people, including Cricinfo, try to belittle Joel Garner? The Big Bird deserves a place in the side by the sheer force of his bowling statistics as well as his menacing stature and fielding ability---probably, the best gully catcher.

  • postsituationist on July 13, 2010, 7:52 GMT

    I urge Cricinfo and the panelists to go for four fast bowlers. Let Lance Gibbs (Or the other spinner) be the 12th man. Pick Marshall, Garner, Ambrose and Holding. A West Indian team at its best--which is the basic assumption behind such fantasy XIs-- should need no spinner.

  • sudhindranath on July 13, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    Just go by the Hall of Fame list - Roberts, Marshall, Holding and Gibbs.

  • on July 13, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    I'm sorry that all these guys think the XI needs 4 pacers... have they never heard of Lance Gibbs, the greatest west indian spinner of all time?

    I would pick Marshall for his ability to swing it either way, Ambrose for his crushing accuracy, bouncer, and yorker, and Wes Hall for his pure speed

    All time XI: Gordon Greenidge, Roy Fredericks, Brian Lara, Viv Richards, Rohan Kanhai, Garry Sobers, Jeff Dujon, Malcolm Marshall, Wes Hall, Curtly Ambrose, Lance Gibbs

  • alonsoe on July 13, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    Come on Metman. We know you are from Barbados and want to justify your opinions by resorting to stats but please do not insult the intelligence of the other readers. If this exercise was a case of picking players with the best stats then none of us would need to spend any time doing this. That is why we have computers. Secondly there is something called picking a balanced team. Thirdly cricket is a spectator sports and without the likes of some of the players you want to dismiss, test cricket as a spectacle would not only be dying today but it would be dead. Therefore bring on the likes of Viv, Holding and Roberts. Others might have had better stats but I know many that would pay to see them any day. And since you love stats so much tell us how many losing series they have played in and how many series Viv lost as captain.

  • on July 13, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    Hunte, Greenidge,Headley,Lara, Weekes, Sobers, Dujon,Marshall, Garner, Ambrose,Gibbs

  • deepak_jain103 on July 13, 2010, 4:26 GMT

    it is very difficult to choose b/w them atleast u should give 4 slots to fill them

    1.marshall 2.garner(because of his deadly height) 3.roberts/ambrose/holding

  • WindiesWillow on July 13, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    I think it should be 4 and not three fast bowlers to choose from. Anyway...sticking with the column, my three would be: Marshall, Ambrose & Roberts. My 4th choice would be Holding. Looking at most persons choices, it seems that Marshall & Ambroase are consistent, and rightly so. These two bowlers will also add batting depth to the 11, they took their batting seriously and we should be breeding more fast bowlers in the Caribbean with their mentality.

  • alonsoe on July 13, 2010, 3:52 GMT

    I do not think it is logical to pick a W.I. all time 11 and make it automatic to choose only 3 fast bowlers. I think I would group all bowlers ( pace men and spinners ) into one bunch, and then choose the best four. Most likely the top 4 would be all pace men. My choices would be Roberts, Marshal, Holding and Ambrose. Under the Cricinfo format, I would choose the first 3.

  • abner564 on July 13, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    My choice for the three fast bowlers are as follows - Roberts for his attacking yet wise bowling formula, Marshall because he's the most complete fast bowler to ever graced a cricket field, and my third choice wait for it Ambrose for his wicket taking ability that comes in bunches.....and if they was a 4 th choice i fetch Garner love how he made batsmen wobble back to the dressing room.

  • kirksland on July 13, 2010, 2:05 GMT

    Just to add a little spice to the conversation, my all time team Jack Hobbs, Sunil Gavaskar, Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Gary Sobers, Adam Gilchrist, Imran Khan/Fred Trueman (allrounder or bowler), Shane Warne, Malcolm Marshall, Glen Macgrath.

  • on July 13, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    holding marshall walsh ambrose.

  • on July 13, 2010, 2:02 GMT

    There was a time when West Indies had the most Fearsome pace attack in cricket....Roberts,Holding,Croft and Garner! These 4 guys on my team any day.

  • on July 13, 2010, 1:49 GMT

    Its very hard to pick the Fast bowlers for WI coz they have the most number of Great Fast bowlers produced in Cricket. Iam selecting 4 Fast bowlers for all time WI XI coz I dont think they need any spinner in the side. Iam going with Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Malcom Marshall and Curtley Ambrose, for their great Fast bowling.

  • on July 13, 2010, 1:49 GMT

    After painstaking deliberations, I must choose the following three. 1.Joel Garner, 2. malcolm marshall, and 3.curtly ambrose.I came to this conclusion as a result of these three fast bowlers ability to take wickets on any type of pitch and in any condition, not with-standing their resolve and consistency.

  • kirksland on July 13, 2010, 1:43 GMT

    For those who would have stated that there is a fixed format for these teams, that is not necessarily true as some teams have bowling all rounders, while some, have batting ones, and Australia have two spinners.But we are limited to three. Malcolm Marshall, along with Glen Macgrath are the greatest fast bowlers of all time, so he is an automatic pick, next person would be Curtly Ambrose, the percision, the venom, that deadly yorker, greatest bowler of his time. Whispering Death, the name states it all, bowled perhaps the greatest over ever and probably the fastest of the bunch, Michael Holding takes the third and final spot on our team. If we were alowed to add a fourth we would have have to go with Big Bird, the average and strike rate says it all, but too similar to Ambrose to make into the final three. My final team, Greenidge, Haynes, Headley, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Dujon, Marshall, Holding, Ambrose, Gibbs.

  • Markus971 on July 13, 2010, 1:24 GMT

    Marshall, Ambrose, Garner! & The Team: G.Green., V.Rich., G.Head., B.Lara, F.Worr., G.Sob., J.Duj., ^ , L.Gibb...

  • crazyhead on July 13, 2010, 0:52 GMT

    Cricinfo is asking readers to do some impossible things. How can we drill this list down to only 3. Thats outragiously impossible! However, this AT XI itself is an hypothetical one. Lets take it heads on.

    After several hrs of thinking, it boils down to Marshall ( if anyone is disputing his name, they dont understand Cricket), Ambrose ( he is the only bowler in 90's to average 20... that too in not so great team. No comtemporary batsman could conquer him). Finally wispering death, Michael Holding.. There is a sold reason behind calling him wispering death.. All these folks offer variety. They are not similar, yet devastating and can win matches single handedly.

    Huge apologies to rest of the nominees..My heart is actually broken when I have to leave out the gentleman fast bowler 'Walsh'. ALSO for Andy Roberts, he is my 4th fast bowler..

  • inswing on July 13, 2010, 0:47 GMT

    The formulaic selection with three fast bowlers and one spinner is silly. A WI 11 obviously needs 4 pacers with Sobers as the spinner already there. It will be really funny if they try to pick three pacers and one spinner in the Indian 11. My picks: Marshall, Garner, Holding, Roberts.

  • on July 13, 2010, 0:34 GMT

    Holding, Marshall, Ambrose and Roberts, as easy as that

  • on July 12, 2010, 23:22 GMT

    Marshall and 3 of the others

  • TimB717 on July 12, 2010, 23:14 GMT

    No Patrick Patterson! Just joking. You should have 4 pace men because Garfield Sobers could bowl a little spin when needed. They also had a few other parttimers that could fill the void. Holding, Marshall, Ambrose & Garner would destroy about any lineup. It's funny that Holding at 23.68 has by far the worst test bowling average of my four. The other three are under 21 in tests!!!! That is simply amazing.

  • rick333 on July 12, 2010, 22:24 GMT

    Nice article! Some of us (from late 90s) are not so fortunate to have witnessed these all time greats. This article gives us overview with just enough stats for readers, to understand what it must have been back in 70s and 80s playing against them.

  • on July 12, 2010, 22:21 GMT

    I would have loved to watch the 7 WI bowlers bowling at the same time:

    Walsh, Ambrose, Marshall, Croft, Roberts, Garner and Holding.

    Pace, bounce, accuracy, lethality combined with their 6'5 feetish heights, it would certainly be a disaster for the batsmen.

  • Metman on July 12, 2010, 21:57 GMT

    Now that I know the panel will look for a spinner to complete the XI,my final XI will be: Hunte,Greenidge,Weekes,Headley,Lara,Sobers,Walcott,Marshall,Garner,Ambrose,Gibbs.The panel could have made it easier by asking the readers to select an all time greatest Barbados XI ,and the all time greatest Rest of West Indies XI,for as you can see,there are 7 Bajans in the all time WI XI, I did not pick them because I am from Bdos,but because they happened to have the best averages/strike rates.An all time greatest Bdos XI of Hunte,Greenidge,Weekes,Nurse,Sobers,Worrell,Walcott,Marshall Garner,Hall,Griffith,could easily pass for an all time greatest WI, XI.That way I can include Viv Richards in the rest XI .My all time rest XI would include,Fredericks,Haynes Richards,Lara,Headley,Lloyd,Dujon,Roberts,Ambrose,Holding,Gibbs

  • Singhe on July 12, 2010, 20:54 GMT

    Whew! This obiviously comes down to the ones who used their brains the most often: Maco, Holding and Ambrose. Just a reminder to the "Johnnies-come-lately": Lance Gibbs was the best spin-bowler in the world for a very, very long time, and was very effective: is first or second to 300 wickets.

  • Robster1 on July 12, 2010, 20:49 GMT

    What an awsome list to choose from.

    And perhaps the most feared quick from the 1980's doesn't even make the list - the awsome, lightening fast Sylvester Clarke.

  • Stromeon on July 12, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    WI All time XI needs four fast bowlers as Sobers and Richards who are both v capable can provide spin options if needed. Plus Richards and Sobers are brilliant bats so they would be assured of a place in the batting line-up. My picks are Garner and Ambrose to wreak havoc on bouncy pitches due to their height, Marshall to complement them - much smaller man with skiddier bounce, and Holding.

  • avinash11may on July 12, 2010, 20:42 GMT

    I think Walcott should be used as an opening batsman cum wicket Keeper, so that he can fill in the two weak links in this otherwise greatest side of all times. Firstly, we would not be forced to pick up Haynes or anyone else to partner Greenidge and secondly, we can pick up four fast bowlers and one spinner in the playing eleven by leaving out Dujon. Then the best all time XI would be like this: 1. Greenidge, 2. Walcott, 3. Headley, 4. Lara, 5. Richards, 6. Sobers, 7. Marshall, 8. Ambrose, 9. Gibbs, 10. Holding and 11. Walsh. I've picked Walsh over Garner for his durability plus the similar bowling styles of Ambrose and Garner would not be very wise to select. So, We will have Ambrose bowling in tandem with Walsh and Marshall bowling with Holding... My goodness..... Any batsman can come out and say that he is ready to take up the challenge??????????

  • rson on July 12, 2010, 20:22 GMT

    Unfortunately the format used by Cricinfo for the selection of All-Time XI's does not always play to the strengths of the country in question,e.g. limiting New Zealand to one all-rounder or the West Indies to three fast bowlers.Pakistan got lucky in that their best all-rounder would certainly have made it as a bowler in his own-right.I do think that omitting Gibbs would be a mistake in that we don't know the conditions iunder which the matches would be played.Sobers to my mind was a much better pace bowler than spinner and,insofar as strike rates for spinners are considered Gibbs does not come off as badly by comparison against most of the other spinners named in other countries' XI's.I would be inclined,in the absence of a fourth pacer,to open the batting with Worrell,thus providing the option of a left-arm paceman who could also bowl a few overs of spin if necessary. My top three pacers would be Marshall,Ambrose and Garner.

  • Sanks555 on July 12, 2010, 19:47 GMT

    Very difficult choice. I will pick: Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose, and Michael Holding. If I had to pick 3, I will drop Ambrose for Garner as Garner was a bit taller and has a slightly better average. Garner also was a better batsman.

  • on July 12, 2010, 19:24 GMT

    For me garner, marshall, ambrose and holding would be the perfect quatret for the team. Wish some of the names listed above could come out of retirement so that we can again see a great WI team beating the other international teams, depiste their limited batting resources. To rely of on Suliman Benn, Ravi Rampaul, Dave Mohammad to win a test match is a joke.

  • Molu14 on July 12, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    @uprockstar: Great sarcasm! Sadly though, it is true that the current West-Indian bowlers are but a shadow of the legends from the past. The likes of Bess, Pascal, and Rampaul are a shame to their memories of their predecessors. My team--1. Courtney Walsh, 2. Curtly Ambrose 3. Micheal Holding

  • farazzubair on July 12, 2010, 19:00 GMT

    If its only 3 then my picks would be Holding, Marshall and Ambrose. In other circumstances I would have wanted the quartet of Roberts, Holding, Marshall and Garner to play together. There could be no more appalling sight.

  • 2.14istherunrate on July 12, 2010, 18:51 GMT

    Even out of a list a sublimely effective dangerous fast bowlers like this it was a 2 second call. Holding, the most aesthetically appealing of quick bowlers,poetry in motion, Marshall, the complete party wrecker(if you happened to be supporting the opposition),the deadly destroyer, and Ambrose the ultimate mean machine. Along with Sobers this pace attack would be no fun for even the greatest of players to face. Survive and you'd know you could play. The substitute list would be fairly grim to face as well, or even the substitutes for the substitutes. wonder how one could ever need a spinner with that lot on your side, except for fun.

  • AyrtonS on July 12, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    How can you compare these guys without a Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Gilcrist or Keith Boyce ?

    Yours is a Jhonny come lately assessment of West Indian bowlers.

  • Rajesh. on July 12, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    The toughest of all selections, but I would go with Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner & Malcolm Marshall......... As fearsome as you could get ! Many people never realize how fearsome Michael Holding was...... he was perhaps the fastest of them all. I would not leave out Holding as a few people have done here. The only dilemma was whether to pick Joel Garner or Curtly Ambrose. All these great West Indian fast bowlers played with each other & still managed to get more than 250 wickets each at a sub-25 average. God knows what they would have achieved had they been the only strike-bowler in their teams........

  • Roger_Allott on July 12, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    An amusingly difficult choice. Who would you like to knock your block off, Sir? For me, Holding and Marshall are very slightly ahead of the field. Complementing them would be either Garner or Ambrose. My heart says the former, but my head says the latter.

  • PrinceofPortofSpain on July 12, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    The West Indies cricket history contains many great batsmen, bowlers, wicket keepers, fieldsmen and captains. If we want to pick just one team to represent 1928 to present, then my choice is Greenidge, Hunte, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Worrel ( capt ), Dujon ( wkt ), Marshall, Holding, Ambrose and Gibbs with 12 th man Constantine. Notable ommissions are Headley, Lloyd, Weekes, Kanhai, Roberts, Garner, Walsh and Croft.

  • nafzak on July 12, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    Why is Dowe and Vanburn Holder not on this list? Okay, relax all - just kidding. Don't fret about 3 or4 fast bowlers on team and 0/1 specialist spinner. It's only a make believe selection. If you are going to pick an all time team, you have to set a standard criteria to be fair. Australia could have picked 4 pretty good fast men too and so too could Pakistan, but they have to include a specialist spinner. Pick any three and you could not go wrong. My personal choices are Holding, Marshall and Garner. My 2nd team is Roberts, Croft and Ambrose. My 3rd team is Hall, Bishop and Walsh. Croft is indeed very undrerrated - he has the 2nd best average # of wickets per match.

  • sanjayverma on July 12, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    why we rank them ..all have there own class and leaving any one from the eleven will be blunder.!!!!!

  • upsrockstar on July 12, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    My picks r Tino Best,Brandon Bess,Nelon Pascal & Ravi Rampaul.It was a great surprise for me for why cricinfo didn't name them anywhere.If Windies opt for a spinner then the legendary trio of Dave Mohammad,Omari Banks or Sulieman Benn r the obvious picks.

  • Engle on July 12, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    Firstly, there does not need to be 4 speedsters as so many are exclaiming. An AT World XI must showcase variety. Secondly, the pacers must complement each other. Start off with Marshall. His record speaks volumes, with batting thrown in for extra weight. Ambrose would complement him best. The 3rd spot has to go to WD, Michael Holding, he had too much of a reputation to ignore. As tough as the other choices were, they're just a tad lower than these 3.

  • manasvi_lingam on July 12, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    Extremely hard to pick. Going by stats alone, it would have to be said that the best three bowlers are Marshall, Garner and Ambrose. But, Garner and Ambrose have somewhat similar styles of bowling. And, given that the pitches and the rules were more bowling conducive in the 80s, I'd pick Ambrose over Garner. So, 2 out of 3 are done: Marshall and Ambrose. Of the rest, I think that Croft, Griffith, Hall, Bishop and even Walsh can be eliminated, with great difficulty. This leaves Roberts and Holding, and I'd go with the latter.

  • thisgameislife on July 12, 2010, 16:23 GMT

    And - will you pick 3 seamers plus one spinner for the India All Time XI??? There just have to be 4 fast bowlers plus Sobers and Richards. 1. Marshall 2. Ambrose 3. Holding 4. Roberts And if any of these 4 trip over the ball during practice, then call in Garner or Croft. Honestly, no batting side will see an old ball with these bowlers, and this team will not need a spinner - not even at Kotla or Multan. You cannot include a spinner in this XI, just as you will not include Atul Wasan in the India team to make the 4th seamer.

  • on July 12, 2010, 15:29 GMT

    Awesome list. I would go with Roberts, Holding, Marshall and Ambrose/Garner.

  • on July 12, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    Any West Indies All time team needs four fast bowlers period. However, my three - Marshall, Garner and Ambrose. I used the best average otherwise it's an impossible task to select the best three.

  • knowcricket on July 12, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    There were times when teams made large scores against the WI because the pitch was not condusive to pace, so as much as I think we should choose 4 fast bowlers, there were times when a quality spinner was needed. Sobers was a much better pace bowler than spinner, so he would be a better 4th pacer than the frontline spinner. Marshall, Holding and Ambrose should be enough for most teams with Sobers as 4th seamer.

  • vajira12 on July 12, 2010, 14:42 GMT

    Holding, Marshall, Ambrose and Roberts

  • shanghaibatsman on July 12, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    I don't know.The 4 fast bowling technique was only a sucess due to the very slow over rate tactic deployed.Sometimes only 70 odd overs were bowled a day. Now with the required 90 can four fast bowlers be let loose?

  • NALINWIJ on July 12, 2010, 14:07 GMT

    Tough choice among legends. From this group I saw Ambrose to be the deadliest against the Aussies followed by Holding and Marshall and they are my choices.There is a good case for 4 pace bowlers but a hypothetical AT XI must play in any pitch and SOBERS provides balance in the form of spin or medium pace.I agree with Cricinfo selection formula for the first time.middle order in the form of HEADLEY,SOBERS,RICHARDS,LARA overlaps the history of WI cricket and were the best batsman in their era. I will stick with my original selection- 1.GREENIDGE 2.HAYNES 3.RICHARDS 4.HEADLEY 5.LARA 6.SOBERS 7.DUJON 8.MARSHALL 9.HOLDING 10.AMBROSE 11.GIBBS. The only interesting alternatives are to consider walcott and worrell instead of dujon and haynes and this would allow the greatest captain play. 4th paceman such as Roberts instead of Gibbs in a pace friendly pitch.Alternatively Leary Constantine could be an inspired choice as the 12th man and could cover any eventuality such as pitch or injuries.

  • on July 12, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    I've been thinking about the all time XIs. I find the selections hard sometimes because the brief is underdefined; it is hard to select a team when you do not know the conditions in which they will be playing.

    So I am imaging a tournament between the all-time XIs. Each rubber will consist of three matches home and three away, with one of the three played with the rules, equipment and conditions of 1930, one played with the rules and conditions and equipment of 1970, and one with contemporary rules, equipment, and conditions. (A timeless tie breaker, if necessary would be played at Lords, a ground where even the home side has no home advantage.)

    For the 1970 and 2010 matches, I would choose a four pronged pace attack for WI. I'd prefer to select a fifteen man squad, but if restricted to an XI that could play in all conditions, it seems foolish not to include a front line spinner.

  • Arijit_in_TO on July 12, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    The allocation of fast bowlers should not be restricted to 3 --that is an unnecessary limitation that unneccesarily undermines the team's strength. One does not require balance when there is some of the best bowling talent in history on hand to choose from. Having said this my picks were Holding, Marshall and Ambrose; these guys were bloody brilliant.

  • Bamarolls on July 12, 2010, 13:42 GMT

    I agree with most of the commenters that WI-X1 must have 4 pacers. I don't see a line-up in the world that would defy the quartet long enough for a pure spin bowler to be introduced to the attack. Sir Sobers, if necessary would fill in most suitably, should the need arise.

  • Cricket_observer_from_1982 on July 12, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    Jermine Lawson was a tremandous potential, but poor selection policy killed players like him. Once great Imran Khan criticised WestIndies board for spoiling talents like patrick patterson

  • on July 12, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    in the west indies all time XI the 3 lucky fast bowlers who would just barely surpass the rest are, one of the greatest bowlers of all time no other than malcolm marshall, then no other than the tall mean fast bowler joel garner when facein a delivery from this man was like takin a bullet then he would be followed by one of the most statistical west indies pace bowler and could be considered as one the west indies last great pace bowler curtly ambrose but all of those men on the list are greats and will always be that way

  • SUNDOS on July 12, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    Imagine a laid back collection of islands,producing a line up of fast bowlers,who used the ball before reverse swing and ball tampering,sheer pace,accuracy and swing all combinig perfectly.No I could not choose between these giants.I think we are are fortunate to haved and witnesed these geniusses.Pity that they cant inspire and coach the current crop.I thin k just two fast bowlers,should they emerge form the current West Indian team would lead the Windies back tom the days of glory.

  • vaks on July 12, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    difficult choice.......marshall,ambrose,garner,holding...others will make it to any test team at any time......clearly these 4 are one step ahead of the other greats from statistics point of view.....it's really sad to leave a single bowler from this..they all r great....truly great.....

  • Metman on July 12, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    Hey readers!,forget about your favourites,your sentimentality,your likes and dislikes,and the country you come from.With so many good fast bowlers to choose from,you have to select the 3 based solely on averages/strike rates,otherwise we all will be going around in circles!I dont know why some people are picking 4,but the panel asked for 3 ,and that made it a lot easier for me.Readers!Marshall,Garner,and Ambrose all have superior averages/strike rates(all in the 20s) than the others.So dont pick people because you like their runup or you happened to be from their country,NONSENSE!Sylvester Clarke ,although not mentioned by the panel and coming at the wrong time, in my opinion,was the most dangerous of the lot,coming off a run up as long as Collis King.

  • on July 12, 2010, 13:04 GMT

    This is very tough. A balanced team would have at least one spinner. And there were somne fine ones like Gibbs, Ramadin, Valentine etc. But the West Indian sides had the 4 man pace battery. For me Marshall and Ambrose pick themselves. If given another 2 choices I would go for Holding and Garner. You have pace and accuracy, no rest for the batsman. Hard to leave the likes of Hall & Roberts out but can't have them all. Sobers could provide the spin, as well as left arm pace for variety!

  • aa61761 on July 12, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    West Indies does not have a great spinner to be included in their all time XI, therefore, West Indies should go with 4 great fast bowlers. I will pick Marshall, Ambrose, Garner& Holding. Sobers and Richards can handle the spin bowling.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 12, 2010, 12:32 GMT

    I've gone for Hall, Holding and Garner. Garner was not the fastest, but how many batsmen ever got after him? He was the guy that you put on to frustrate the best into error with relentless accuracy and steep bounce just below blindingly quick: the perfect foil to Holding, Roberts, Marshall et al. Holding was THE fastest of all. Wes Hall was just a legend. I can't even rate Malcolm Marshall ahead of them.

  • farhad78 on July 12, 2010, 12:32 GMT

    Well no doubt that all the fast bowlers mentioned were great in their own time. As much as a fantasy team are concerned people could have different opinions depending also upon the format of game. Although Garner and Ambrose will qualify for both the formats, croft, holding, Marshal, Walsh and Roberts are likely to be used interchangeably. But it is true that even if you fill the west indian team with 11 bowlers that constitute the greatest bowlers of all time there will be a long list of bowlers left out. Unfortunately West Indies is as much a victim of politics as Pakistan, which leads it to be in a place quite disappointing from where it could again lift itself. Those were great times but times change.

  • HasanMobeen on July 12, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    This is probably the toughest selection I ever made in Cricinfo XI... West Indies team shud have four fast bowlers and a spinner who can bat a bit.. I selected 3 players from 2 different systems but couldnt pick Courtney Walsh who was once a highest test wicket taker of all time... My choices in one team are Hall, Ambrose and Holding... and Ambrose, Marshall and Holding in other...

  • Rake1 on July 12, 2010, 12:14 GMT

    My three would be Marshall, Ambrose & Holding. I though agree with a lots of comments that unless the games are played in spin friendly pitches, you would be inclined to pick 4 fast bowlers. Therefore I would have Garner as 4th bowlers and only in spin friendly conditions like Indian sub-continent + SCG & Oval would I pick Gibbs instead of Garner.

  • The.Neutralist on July 12, 2010, 12:12 GMT

    This is impossible to pick. It will be injustice done to other great bowlers.

  • abner564 on July 12, 2010, 12:07 GMT

    There need to be four fast bowlers......true west indians supporters always bite their teeths whenever a spinner bowls.....so please 4 fast bowlers needed...

  • eddy501 on July 12, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    @Suresh_Joseph..... i know half the fun of these things are different people's opinions but man..............Picking a WI IX without MM is the same as leaving out Sir Gary! Ask any of the top batters of the 80's ..Border, Chappell's, Gooch, Gavaskar etc they will all say MM was king. As fast as any of the others, and just as nasty (ask Gooch, Mike'Panda' Gatting). Taking wickets for fewer runs and and more quickly than his fellow strike bowlers. He was the best of the lot and how you cant find one space for him in the team is crazy!

  • dineshp97 on July 12, 2010, 11:55 GMT

    If you needed only three, I would probably pick Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose.

  • kartiks3 on July 12, 2010, 11:37 GMT

    I hope Cricinfo heeds readers' requests & inducts 4 fast bowlers into the WI All Time XI. The standard 3 quicks + 1 spin Cricinfo formula just DOESNT make sense when it comes to the West Indies. For the record my pick would be Marshall, Holding, Ambrose & (Garner).

  • cricketchopper on July 12, 2010, 11:23 GMT

    where is Sylvester Clarke, the best fast bowler of all times. He was better then Holding and Marshal. Viv Richards regarded him the most dangerous fast bowler. My Choice is Sylvester Clarke, Marshal, Garner, Ambrose

  • SaifQazi on July 12, 2010, 11:22 GMT

    cumon cricinfo... u cant seriously suggest that u r pickin 3 fast bowlers to make way for a 4th bowler in the shape of a spinner?? who in his sane mind wud want to have a spinner with the likes of Marshal, Roberts, Holding n Ambrose in the wings... cumon let us have 4 fast bowlers, as Sir Gary is unlikely to miss out in the Best XI n he can be used as left chinamen bowler.. n so cud Viv..

    I am in the fix of ma life, selectin 3 fast bowlers... u cant ignore ne of them.. i wud want 4 fast bowlers in ma team wen i know that they r as good as this lot.. if 4 then it wud be, Holding, Garner, Marshal n Ambrose, hands down! bt if three, then beside Garner n Marshal, i cant pick ma third... both Holding n Ambrose r not worth bein ignored..!! CUMON CRICINFOOOO, CUMON PLZZZZZ...!!

  • shobanzz on July 12, 2010, 11:16 GMT

    Andy Roberts, Malcom Marshall, Curtly Ambrose & Micheal Holding are the best I guess.

  • on July 12, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    My choice would be Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose purely on statistics.

  • NickHughes on July 12, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    I can't believe Cricinfo is only allowing for 3 quicks in this team. I don't want to exclude Gibbs from the reckoning but couldn't this category have been about West Indian bowlers and include spinners like Gibbs in the list so if some people want to include a spinner they can, but if you want to go down the classic 4 fast bowlers route then that should be an option. As it happens, I've had to exclude Joel Garner...who would have been a shoe-in with 4 slots...and go with Marshall, Holding and Ambrose.

  • decaby on July 12, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    how many bowlers are they picking in this team... its impossible to pick this team cant wait to see whtt they come up with...

  • muggsy9 on July 12, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    this is too hard!!! its really a pitty that they don't have fast bowlers in the current team that are even half of this standard. i agree that 4 quicks would b the selection and sobers can bowl spin and so can viv. i ended up picking wes hall, joel garner and malcolm marshall. 4th would b michael holding i think!

  • 270380 on July 12, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    Perhaps the best fast bowlers came from the West Indies. I had the pleasure of watching Holding, Robert, Marshal and I would pick them as they would be equally effective on the flatest of flat pitches. I would play Walsh also as a fourth bowler.

  • Harry_ on July 12, 2010, 10:07 GMT

    Haynes, Greenidge, Headley, Lara, Richards, Sobers, Dujon, Marshall (c), Holding, Garner, Roberts. The hardest part is choosing your four quicks, as you have to take into account the very essence of what made the windies great rather than the 'balance' of a team. If anything a spinner like Gibbs would offer relief for the batsmen from the consistently rapid quicks. The top six would offer more debate as those of a more recent generation would see the three W's and Hall and Constantine in a more positive light. The top six I chose felt rigth as you have perhaps the most famous opening pair of all time, Headley, Lara and Richards are consistently talked about as being some of the greatest batsmen of all time and Sobers is the greatest all rounder that ever lived, and if you really wanted you could use him as the spinner and he would still be pretty effective. Dujon was chosen as with all the 95mph edges that fly you would want someone of his athletic calibre to snaffle anything.

  • on July 12, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    YOU HAVE GOT TO PICK 4 FAST BOWLERS! THERE WAS NO SPINNER IN WEST INDIES WHO COULD BE COMPARED WITH THESE GREATS. MARSHALL, HOLDING, AMBROSE, GARNER

  • Sydney66 on July 12, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    Farhad Arshad wrote: 'One change to what Dinnie suggested. My team would be Greenidge, Haynes, Lara, Richards, Lloyd(c), Sobers, Dujon, Marshall, Walsh, Holding, Garner. 12th man: Everton Weekes. This team would annihilate all other teams, including the 2 best so far of the series in ATXI Pak and ATXI Aus.'

    Annihilate Farhad?? I don't think so. It is likely that Viv Richards wouldn't last the hour against Bill O'Reilly and Shane Warne such was his weakness against good spin bowling. And the other batsmen would all struggle against the pace of Lillee, McGrath and Miller. If Sobers got among the runs then Bradman would also. The same goes for Harvey, Chappell or Gilchrist. A test match between an All Time Windies XI and an All Time Aussies XI is bound to be a low scoring counter-punch sort of game. And the Aussies counter punch as good as anybody. Actually now that I think of it, what kind of money would you pay to watch an in-form Gilchrist take on Marshall and Ambrose in full flight

  • on July 12, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    Ambrose, Marshall, Roberts and Walsh for me, Ambrose was one of the most underrated bowlers of all time look at his stats there up there with the best of all time.

  • kevin56 on July 12, 2010, 9:29 GMT

    it would have to be holding roberts and hall or marshall.though none of the above would make an australian eleven.

  • eddy501 on July 12, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    As with Sir Gary this is a no-brainer. Malcom Marshall + 3 others!

  • chaithan on July 12, 2010, 9:07 GMT

    If the team has 4 pacers, then won't it be massacred on a slow or dusty pitch?? It is definitely better to have one spinner.

  • on July 12, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    There needs to be FOUR fast bowlers in the West Indies All-Time XI. There is no place for Gibbs.

    Gibbs had a strike rate of 87 balls per wicket! How can you possibly include him ahead of a fast bowler with a strike rate closer to 50?!?!

    Let Sobers be the 5th bowler. To put Gibbs ahead of a 4th fast bowler would show the selection jury to be hugely ignorant of what made the West Indies great to begin with.

    My picks : Marshall, Ambrose, Garner, Holding. The 4 best average/strike rates and decent lower-order batting.

  • contrast_swing on July 12, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    Pick three at random and you will still have a world class fast bowling attack. But please remember that there are only 11 places in a team and selection to that all time XI should at no point in time in future should become a yard-stick to measure the greatness of a player. Just because a player has emerged as a contender for a place in the all time XI is enough to rate him as one of the great.

    right arm over fast

  • on July 12, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    Wes Hall had the fastest, most exciting run up in the game and he was FAST. If there are only three quicks, I'll pick Hall, Holding and Marshall - if we picked four I would pick Ambrose.

  • gzawilliam on July 12, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    Surely you have to go by the bowlers averages. All of them are so even its the only way to seperate them.

    My choice would be Garner , Marshall and Ambrose. But yes i agree with Dinnie. The great west indian teams seemed to rely on 4 fast bowlers a lot more. But was Marshall one of the all rounders aswell? If so then holding needs to be there.

  • Suresh_Joseph on July 12, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    1. The phrase 'pace quartet' was created, defined and patented by the West Indies, so this whole argument of 3 vs 4 is rubbish - four it's got to be. Besides, I don't think the opposition would be batting long enough for a spinner to be introduced. If a spinner is absolutely necessary, surely the duties could be shared by Viv Richards and Sobers, both of whom are certainties in the final XI.

    2. I would go with the older lot - Holding, Garner, Roberts and Hall, each at his 'brutest' best. As for the rest, they could be loaned to India and SL, two countries where the list of all-time greats amongst quicks stands at one - Kapil (Ind) and Vaas (SL).

    3. What on earth is going on those islands these days??? Surely Walsh and Ambrose can come out of retirement and do a better job than the current lot, especially in tests.

  • realredbaron on July 12, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    I don't know about other all time XI, but for West Indies, you definitely need 4 fast bowlers. Otherwise it's not the West Indies all time XI. My four picks are: Holding, Marshall, Garner, Ambrose.

  • on July 12, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    You should pick up 4 fast bowlers. I think there is no room for Lance Gibbs as Sir Garry is there and off course fast bowlers were always the real strength of the West Indies. My picks are: Ambrose, Garner, Marshal & Roberts.

  • lodger67 on July 12, 2010, 7:30 GMT

    As an Australian, let me affirm what many are saying here already. Hands down, Marshall is the best fast bowler the game has known. Until he rewrote the fast bowler's manual, it was considered sacrilege for an Aussie to think anybody other than Lillee was the best fast man of all time, but now there are many of us down under who remain in awe at just how good Marshall was. He'd be first pick, then, and I agree with others who say that 4 fast men should be in this XI = Marshall, Ambrose, Garner, Holding, with Walsh unlucky to miss out (he just got better and better with age).

  • Rajesh. on July 12, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    The toughest of all selections, but I would go with Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner & Malcolm Marshall......... As fearsome as you could get !

  • BillyCC on July 12, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    A very tough choice. In that list, you probably have four of the top ten fast bowlers of all time. Marshall, and Ambrose are definites for me, and I would be happy if you pick any other two, although maybe not Griffith or Bishop.

  • ksmani on July 12, 2010, 7:00 GMT

    I TOLD YOU SO !! When i looked at the 13 problems, I remember asking you, my fellow selectors, to wait for the bowler 'problem'. Here it is - 10 of them !! Let us eliminate Ian Bishop, because of the luxury of choices we have. 1. Select Malcolm Marshall. Rest, I repeat my comments. 2. Put any donkey as a selector (as they normally are). 3. Pick any 3, you will always be right. 4. If anyone criticizes your selection, make them face 1 over of bowling from each of the above 4 selections. Any one got a printer ? Take a printout of this article and send to current West Indian Team - and the cover letter title should be "Shame on You !!"

  • cricfanraj on July 12, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    First of all its 4 fast men not 3. We are picking WI side. Let me try now to pick 4. 1. Marshall Automatic choice. He will be there in All time World 11 also. No doubt. 2. Ambrose- The best after Marshal. 3. Strauggle starts . Still I'll go with Holding just for the Pace. 4. Roberts / Garner / Croft / Hall / Griffth . Hmmm I'll go with Roberts because Garner is ODI great (how can I say that after looking 20 avg. but still) also we have Ambrose. I don't know abt Hall & Griffth :-)(Easy elimination). Also ROberts is know to bowl magic deliveries which can get out batsmen no matter how settled he is. SO final four is Marshall, Ambrose,Hodling and Roberts. You differ. You have every right. Whoever I left are also equally great. :-)

  • on July 12, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    One change to what Dinnie suggested.

    My team would be Greenidge, Haynes, Lara, Richards, Lloyd(c), Sobers, Dujon, Marshall, Walsh, Holding, Garner.

    12th man: Everton Weekes.

    This team would annihilate all other teams, including the 2 best so far of the series in ATXI Pak and ATXI Aus.

  • IndiaGoats on July 12, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    Wow - the toughest choice of all. I would go with Marshall (the greatest fast bowler of all time for me), Holding and Ambrose. I can't believe I am leaving out Garner and Roberts.

  • DonX1 on July 12, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Garner, Marshall and Ambrose.

  • george204 on July 12, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    I agree with Dinnie, with one important exception:

    George Headley instead of Clive Lloyd. Headley was one of the all time great batsmen - impossible to leave out.

  • srini701 on July 12, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    I honestly think it is a next to impossible task to be objective in picking the fast bowlers for an all-time West Indies XI. You wouldn't be fair to ANY of the left out names and I would dearly love to see how any "selector" can justify picking 4 at the expense of any of the others mentioned above. You might as well pick lots and pick any 4 and they would still be a fearsome combination.

    Please, please have 2 all-time West Indies XIs just for the sake of doing justice to the immense talents of the players you are short-listing.

  • on July 12, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    Just for the fast-bowling dept, Windies should have an all-time XV instead. I picked Garner, Roberts & Holding, but Marshall, Ambrose & Walsh would have been just as strong a pick. Watching any of them operate at full steam was one of the best reasons to be a cricket fan.

    This also shows why Gavaskar is so far ahead of his contemporaries - he played against Garner/Roberts/Holding/Marshall without a helmet and scored heavily. Mr Ponting starts shivering at the sight of (gasp!) Ishant Sharma!

  • bhaskar_79 on July 12, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    Hahaha what a joke .. how do u pick 3/4 from this lot? impossible ... there should be 2 all time XIs for WI

  • Death.Magnetic on July 12, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    its very simple actually...close ur eyes and pick any three(i wud actually go for the four-pronged pace attack)..coz no matter whom ever u pick..u can be guaranteed that no batsmen wud want to face them..

  • karim_s on July 12, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    Wow, this is one impressive list. I'm Pakistani and I can say that without a doubt, an all-time WI XI would beat the all-time XI of any other country by a HUGE HUGE margin. It's sad that the West Indies hasn't been able to maintain their standards. Of course, the same can be said about my team. :(

  • Sehwagology on July 12, 2010, 6:04 GMT

    Some choices from this stellar list may be debatable and difficult. However one name stands head and shoulders above the rest, that of Malcolm Marshall who is surely the greatest fast bowler of all time. Look closely at his average, his strike rate, his variation and his success rate in all conditions and against all opponents. Lillee is often referred to as the consummate fast bowler (largely by the Anglo-Australian media) but for me there is no comparison - Marshall has been the best in the modern game - he could do anything with a cricket ball. Viv Richards used to grab most of the headlines in the 1980s - due to his flamboyance and sheer force of personality - but the most important cog in that team was undoubtedly Marshall. I would not pick Gibbs as the spinner and use Sobers as the slow bowling option instead. Therefore my other three fast bowling picks would be Holding, Ambrose and Roberts. That is some artillery!

  • on July 12, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    according to me my west indies XI would be..1.Chris Gayle 2.Desmond Haynes 3.Brian Lara 4. Sir Viv Richards 5.Sir Garry Sobers 6.Clive LLoyd (C) 7.Dujon (WK) 8.Roger Harper 9.Curtly Ambrose 10.Michael Holding 11. Joel Garner..all the best..

  • Victorian-Roo on July 12, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    My Choice

    J Garner "Big Bird"

    M Holding "Whispering Death"

    C Ambrose "Mean Machine"

    Reserve choice - Malcolm Denzil Marshall "Maco"

  • Razmian on July 12, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    My choice will be selecting four out of them because of the so much variety in their pace bowling and the lack of a quality spinner. The four will be comprised of Garner, Holding, Marshall and Ambrose.

  • deepoz on July 12, 2010, 5:52 GMT

    Most difficult to choose, but I will go with one each from three distinct era. Wes Hall from 60s, Malcolm Marshall from 80s and Curtley Ambrose from 90s. I find it hard to keep Andy Roberts out, but Marshall was the best even on placid subcontinent wickets. Ambrose had that X-factor that helped a receding West Indies team to still stay ahead every time their contemporaries started pulling close. But Wes Hall was something completely different. I have seen him live in full flight, all smooth 26 steps; not a sight for faint-hearted. Still watching the Brisbane Tie test video gives me goose-bumps. Absolute champions all. It was a pleasure to see them even when my team was on the receiving end..

  • delta20 on July 12, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    A difficult job for anyone who knows something about cricket. As peeet wrote it is hardest as well as easiest as whoever you pick they are fit for it. My choices will be Malcolm marshall, Joel Garner, Michael Holding just to add variety to the attack and I would strongly recommend to keep four fast bowlers as Sobers and Richards will do enough spinning to keep decent batsman in check if not destroying the line up. Destroying will be done by the fast bowlers. And I would like Curtly Ambrose as the fourth one but as all say you can pick Roberts, Hall, Croft, Walsh, Bishop (Though croft and Bishop had relatively shorter careers). I have also heard about sylvester clarke and have read somewhere that he was the nastiest of all but his bad luck could not break himself to the WI team then full of fast bowlers.

  • Gizza on July 12, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    Sobers can bowl both types of spin so I don't think there is room for a specialist spinner when you look at incredible depth of fast bowling in the West Indies which only ended 10 years ago.

  • Dinnie on July 12, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    The West Indies built their great teams of the past on 4 lethal fast bowlers. I think there has to be 4 fast bowlers in this team. Marshall, Garner, Ambrose and Holding. My team would be Greenidge, Haynes, Lara, Richards, Lloyd(c), Sobers, Dujon, Marshall, Ambrose,Holding, Garner. This team would crush any team from history

  • tjsimonsen on July 12, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    As most others have already said: this is mission impossible! My pick is Roberts, Holding and Marshall. But by doing that I'll be leaving out a series if bowlers who would walk straight into the all time XI in almost any other team! The dilemmas we've been facing in ALL the WI selections probably demonstrate more clearly than anything which team (the English of the 50s, the recent Australian, or the WI of the late 70s, 80s, and early 90s) is the best ever! To me at least it has become abundantly clear that there simply isn't ANY issue!

    Thomas

  • asefali on July 12, 2010, 5:28 GMT

    i mentioned before that it would be the toughest (almost impossible) decision to make. Moreover, I dont think it is fair to keep 1 of these great bowlers out for an average spinner. West Indies team has always been about fast bowlers, they should take 4 fast bowlers but i really cannot choose even 4. May be Holding, Garner, Marshall & Ambrose.

  • EddyM on July 12, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    west indies cricket is fast bowiling. There should eb four fast bowlers (makes the selection process marginally easier) and SObers can be the spinner.

    why make room for a spinner when one is not required (as Windies proved time and again)?

  • postsituationist on July 12, 2010, 5:23 GMT

    Garner and Marshal cannot be ignored because of their superior strike rate and average. Help me pick one from the trio of Holding, Ambrose and Hall.

  • vish1036 on July 12, 2010, 5:17 GMT

    id say marshall was the best we ever had...there were many more...but i choose marshall ambrose and garner...an attack like that would make u shiver as the opposition...pace and the ability to get you out from no where...

  • Aubmic on July 12, 2010, 5:17 GMT

    Only 3!!! Has to be Curtly, Marshal & Big Bird. Most of the rest of the list would walk into the other "all time" lists though, some amazing quality in this list.

  • on July 12, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    I have picked 3 by lots. Can we pass on the rest to other teams so that all teams are evenly balanced. All these players will make it to All Time XI of any other team may be except Australia.I bet the jury will pick atleast 4 from this list.No need to choose a spinner. Its Gibbs Gibbs Gibbs.

  • Rosh1 on July 12, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    Probably the toughest choice of all team selections. Unbelievably a great lineup of fast bowling. I decided on Marshall, Garner and Ambrose purely based on the averages of 20's. Ideally the team should have another fast bowler instead of a spinner. Therefore I would have gone for Holding due to his capability with the bat as well.

  • tendua on July 12, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    It would be interesting to see how the other less illustrious but deadly bowlers like Wayne Daniels, Pat Patterson, Winston Davis, Holder, Julian would stack up against these greats. These folks were unlucky to be playing at the time when the quartet was at its peak, but my sense is that they were good enough to play for any other side in the world at the time.

  • lsd123 on July 12, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    Very hard selection. First I would pick 5 Blowers .Marshall, Ambrose, Holding, Roberts and Garner. For above five Marshall is the first automatic selection. Then 2 nd choice would go to Ambrose. Then very hard to take one from the remaining 3. But I would prefer Holding. Very sorry for Garner and Roberts. So finally i would pick Marshall, Ambrose and Holding.

  • YoBro on July 12, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    Get your helmets, guards and visors ready all ye current crop of flat track bullies! You will need it against these guys - and badly.

  • on July 12, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    impossible to choose...purely going by the averages and the longevity (number of matches/wickets) I'd tend to go for garner, marshall and ambrose...it would still be nearly impossible to leave out holding, croft, roberts and walsh or for that matter even bishop...but as mentioned this is merely because of the factors mentioned above...any selector presented with the need to make choices for three slots from the above bunch is sure to have nightmares about the ones he has left out whoever they might be!!!

  • YoBro on July 12, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    They just don't make them like that anymore. As hard as it is to pick among these guys, I will always include Holding in my list. The guy was an unbelievable pacer, rightly called Whispering Death.

  • RogerC on July 12, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    You can choose 6 from this list with the condition that any 3 will play in a particular test match depending on form and fitness. It is unfair to choose only 3.

  • Paki.Fan. on July 12, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    Although this is the greatest list of them all and to chose between these great bowlers is a toughest job, but my choices are Marshall, Holding & Ambrose

  • kingstonsfinest on July 12, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    With all due respect there is no place for a spinner in the All time West Indies side, as the article states pace is our bread and butter, and besides you would have already picked Sir Gary to bowl his slow left arm stuff. Its impossible to just pick three from this list, but I will try. I noticed some people are leaving out Walsh but during the latter part of his career he was as dangerous and difficult to play as any of these guys. But with that said and having to conform to the rules set down I will pick Marshall, Holding and Garner, sorry Cuddy :(

  • gmoturu1 on July 12, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    its hard but i would say malcolm marshall because he can deliver on any ground. michael holding because once he gets into a rythm no bowler can ever match him. curtly ambrose the way he celebrates when he gets a wicket and of course because of their averages.

  • mk49_van on July 12, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    What a hard choice. Only one will figure in the possible (and all excellent) combinations - Malcolm Marshall, IMO the greatest of them all. So Marshall, Holding and Ambrose it is. And yes, get rid of that spinner and bring in Roberts (or Garner). Let Sobers (235 test wickets) and Viv Richards take care of the spin. What a team!

  • Vivek.Bhandari on July 12, 2010, 4:22 GMT

    I'd pick: Hall, Roberts, and Walsh. Three quicks of different variety, ages, and guile. Hall and Roberts would terrorise the batsman with their pace, yorkers and bouncers alike while Walsh is the workman, who's the ability to send down 45 overs, if needed, in the day...

  • on July 12, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    Phew!! How do you pick just three out of here?

  • on July 12, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    Garner, Marshall & Ambrose.

  • teef23 on July 12, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    by far the hardest of all categories to pick....marshall is the only sure pick..holding for sheer pace i think should also be a sure thing...i would go for ambrose for accuracy and meanness but that could easily be done by garner...i think that combo would make most sense but this is definitely the hardest to pick!!!

  • on July 12, 2010, 4:01 GMT

    Marshall, Ambrose and Garner. Let's put fear of God in the batsmen's mind :)

  • wibbly on July 12, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    this is the greatest team of all time...marshall was the most complete fast bowler that ever bowled, garner the most difficult to face and ambrose the most persistent...while ambrose was around the windies still had the best fast bowler in the world, an accolade that was only seriously challenged by dennis lillee from the debut of roberts to the retirement of amby,nearly 25 years of fast bowling excellence...windies cricket was played by gods and cricket is poorer for the fact that the current windies teams are populated by lazy, overpayed nonentities.

  • smudgeon on July 12, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    How? How can you pick three from this lot? Hard as it is, I'd pick Garner, Roberts, and Marshall. But it's a wrench to leave out Ambrose, Croft and Holding. You could pick either, really, and you'd still have an attack that could take 10 wickets against the best of batting lineups...

  • on July 12, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    This will indeed be the toughest group to select!

  • Sydney66 on July 12, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    Marshall and Garner and obvious choices due to their superb averages, strike rates and contrasting styles that complement eachother. Garner's yorker was also lethal and could be relied upon to clean up the tailenders. He was also one of the best gully fieldsman of his era. The third spot comes down to a choice between Roberts, Holding and Ambrose despite their odd failing against India. There is nothing bewteen them but I will go with Ambrose because he was the main reason the West Indies remained 'great' for longer than they should have. Just ask Alan Border or Steve Waugh.

  • on July 12, 2010, 3:35 GMT

    I would just have a four man pace attack consisting of Holding, Hall, Garner and Marshall..

    Seems a bit ridiculous to me to have a three man pace attack when West Indies is not known for having a world class spinner other than Lance Gibbs.

  • Boris72 on July 12, 2010, 3:35 GMT

    It is almost impossible to do this... but Garner, Holding and Ambrose for me. Can't believe I'm rejecting some, if not all, of the others.

  • Siga666 on July 12, 2010, 3:31 GMT

    This is by far the toughest selection one has to make in this section of All time greats! All the best people

  • andrew.henshaw on July 12, 2010, 3:28 GMT

    Ambrose, Garner & Holding - try scoring against that line up..

  • peeeeet on July 12, 2010, 3:27 GMT

    well this is the hardest and yet also the easiest pick in all of the all-time xi's. hardest because of the fact that any one of these players could hold a place in the team. but easiest because no matter who gets picked you can't really argue that they shouldn't be there. i've picked holding, marshall and ambrose, but like i have said any other of the bowlers could get picked and there wouldn't be any complaining.

  • Gerrystackle on July 12, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    I have been looking forward to this instalment for some time. How difficult is this one?...but I had to go with my favourite 3; Holding, Marshall and Ambrose. If I could have I would have picked a 5 prong pace attack and included Garner and Walsh. Mind you Bishop, Croft and Roberts.....next to impossible to pick. I wish my country would have such a problem with pace bowling stocks - NZ.

  • Gaurav_Aggarwal on July 12, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    Wow, a bit unfair to have to choose only 3. I dont think there is place for a spinner in the Windies team. Well, if it is 3, then my 3 are Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Curtley Ambrose. It's all debatable, but some premise ... Left Garner out, as I got Ambrose the tall guy (same logic for Hall). Walsh was a workhorse, not an out and out destroyer, Bishop got injured. Charlie Griffith, don't much except he almost killed Nari Contractor. Colin Croft was really tough to leave out, but a 5 year career was maybe too short. The hardest to leave out was Andy Roberts (and maybe Garner). Well, what else to say but 'a man needs to make a choice'

  • Pat_Muld on July 12, 2010, 3:10 GMT

    Why would the all-time west indies team go without picking 4 fast bowlers!!! Come on, please!

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  • Pat_Muld on July 12, 2010, 3:10 GMT

    Why would the all-time west indies team go without picking 4 fast bowlers!!! Come on, please!

  • Gaurav_Aggarwal on July 12, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    Wow, a bit unfair to have to choose only 3. I dont think there is place for a spinner in the Windies team. Well, if it is 3, then my 3 are Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Curtley Ambrose. It's all debatable, but some premise ... Left Garner out, as I got Ambrose the tall guy (same logic for Hall). Walsh was a workhorse, not an out and out destroyer, Bishop got injured. Charlie Griffith, don't much except he almost killed Nari Contractor. Colin Croft was really tough to leave out, but a 5 year career was maybe too short. The hardest to leave out was Andy Roberts (and maybe Garner). Well, what else to say but 'a man needs to make a choice'

  • Gerrystackle on July 12, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    I have been looking forward to this instalment for some time. How difficult is this one?...but I had to go with my favourite 3; Holding, Marshall and Ambrose. If I could have I would have picked a 5 prong pace attack and included Garner and Walsh. Mind you Bishop, Croft and Roberts.....next to impossible to pick. I wish my country would have such a problem with pace bowling stocks - NZ.

  • peeeeet on July 12, 2010, 3:27 GMT

    well this is the hardest and yet also the easiest pick in all of the all-time xi's. hardest because of the fact that any one of these players could hold a place in the team. but easiest because no matter who gets picked you can't really argue that they shouldn't be there. i've picked holding, marshall and ambrose, but like i have said any other of the bowlers could get picked and there wouldn't be any complaining.

  • andrew.henshaw on July 12, 2010, 3:28 GMT

    Ambrose, Garner & Holding - try scoring against that line up..

  • Siga666 on July 12, 2010, 3:31 GMT

    This is by far the toughest selection one has to make in this section of All time greats! All the best people

  • Boris72 on July 12, 2010, 3:35 GMT

    It is almost impossible to do this... but Garner, Holding and Ambrose for me. Can't believe I'm rejecting some, if not all, of the others.

  • on July 12, 2010, 3:35 GMT

    I would just have a four man pace attack consisting of Holding, Hall, Garner and Marshall..

    Seems a bit ridiculous to me to have a three man pace attack when West Indies is not known for having a world class spinner other than Lance Gibbs.

  • Sydney66 on July 12, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    Marshall and Garner and obvious choices due to their superb averages, strike rates and contrasting styles that complement eachother. Garner's yorker was also lethal and could be relied upon to clean up the tailenders. He was also one of the best gully fieldsman of his era. The third spot comes down to a choice between Roberts, Holding and Ambrose despite their odd failing against India. There is nothing bewteen them but I will go with Ambrose because he was the main reason the West Indies remained 'great' for longer than they should have. Just ask Alan Border or Steve Waugh.

  • on July 12, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    This will indeed be the toughest group to select!