Amidst thunderous applause and a standing ovation by the full house, West Indian champion and fast bowler Courtney Walsh bowed out of Test cricket in front of home fans at Sabina Park Kingston, Jamaica on Monday 23 April 2001. Millions more of his fans, the world over, watched the Final Test between South Africa and the West Indies on television and bid farewell to their hero with similar sentiments.
Courtney emerged on the world cricket scene at WACA. Perth in 1984-85 and claimed the first of his 519 wickets in Test cricket by dismissing G Wood (56) caught by Richie Richardson.
The veteran 38-year old fast bowler claimed his last wicket in Test cricket with the same spirit as exhibited for his first. He castled Allan Donald, the 9th South African wicket to fall. West Indies quickly wrapped up the match in the next over and convincingly won by 130 runs, their first win in fourteen test matches. In the already decided series the impact of this West Indian victory is considered to be more than just consolation but a boost to morale and regaining of their confidence. Walsh claimed four wickets in the innings and 25 in the series, for the fifth time in his career. The victory certainly is a befitting toast to celebrate the end of an illustrious career of the world's highest claimant of wickets.
In a career spanning 17-years, he bowled 5004.1 overs, claimed 519 wickets for an average of 24.45 runs and at a strike rate of 75.55 in 132 test matches. He is one of the most admired cricketers of recent times and will long be remembered as one of the game's most revered players.
Milestones in Walsh's test career
1st wicket GM Wood (Aus) 56 ct RB Richardson, Perth 1984-85
100th wicket DC Boon (Aus) 149 ct PJL Dujon, Sydney 1988-89
200th wicket Basit Ali (Pak) 37 lbw, Bridge Town 1992-93
300th wicket M. Watkinson (Eng) 13 ct CO Browne, The Oval1995
400th wicket IA Healy (Aus) 12 lbw, Port of Spain 1998-99
500th wicket JH Kallis (S.A) 0 lbw, Port of Spain 2000-01
519th wicket AA Donald (S.A) 10 bowled, Kingston 2000-01