Colin Everton Hunte Croft
March 15, 1953, Lancaster Village, East Coast, Demerara, British Guiana
Right hand bat
Right arm fast
"Crofty," a West Indian team-mate once said, "would bounce his grandmother if he thought there was a wicket in it." In a relatively brief career lasting just five years, he established a reputation as one of the most chilling of fast men, with no compunction whatsoever about inflicting pain. There was little of the orthodox about him. The prancing run was straight but the batsman saw only his head bobbing behind the umpire until he veered out wide of the crease just prior to delivery, leaning back and slanting the ball awkwardly in to the right-hander. Often, as with Courtney Walsh later, it would hold up off the seam and move away.
Occasionally his volatility and enthusiasm for the bouncer got him into trouble, most notably when he kept the local infirmary busy while bowling for Guyana against the Australians in 1977-78, and again two winters later during an acrimonious tour of New Zealand, when he failed to veer out in his run and flattened the umpire Fred Goodall who had annoyed him.
He was a fine bowler though and in 27 matches he managed 125 wickets - a remarkable haul in a side laden with high-class pace where the spoils tended to be spread. Best of all came in his second match where at Port-of-Spain he laid waste the Pakistan batting with 8 for 29, still the best figures by a West Indian fast bowler. Since retirement he qualified as an airline pilot ("he wouldn't land in the middle of the runway too often," someone commented) and then joined the media circus where he frequently turns press conferences into a lecture theatre. Mike Selvey
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