Star for a day
His 7 for 51 against Australia in Leeds would remain Winston Davis' most memorable ODI performance
Winston Davis never again scaled such heights
© Glamorgan County Cricket Club|
7 for 51 v Australia, 1983
When Winston Davis stepped into the World Cup limelight, he was the one anonymous link in an otherwise legendary bowling line-up. West Indies, the two-time trophy holders, had been shocked in their opening encounter by the dark horses from India, and Davis was one of the new faces to come in for the next game, against an Australian side that had suffered similar embarrassment against the new boys from Zimbabwe.
In his only previous one-day appearance, Davis had taken 1 for 40 in a losing cause at Berbice
, as Kapil Dev's Indians hinted at what was to come in the month of June. But given his chance on a tricky Headingley pitch, he came up with the sort of performance that most tyros can only dream about. West Indies had posted a competitive 252 in a match that crossed over into a second day because of inclement weather, and Australia's response started badly when Graeme Wood went to hospital with concussion after a Michael Holding bouncer struck him a sickening blow on the side of the head. Andy Roberts cleaned up Kepler Wessels soon after, but Australia had started to fight back by the time Davis was called to the bowling crease.
His first wicket was a prized one, Kim Hughes, and though David Hookes and Graeme Yallop added 59 in quick time to tilt the scales, it was Davis who had the last word. He dismissed both in quick succession, and added four more to end the innings as Australia finished 101 short. Coming from a back-up bowler, it was a quite astonishing spell, especially given that the far more experienced Wayne Daniel had been taken for 35 from his three overs.
Ultimately, though, it was to be a lone swallow of summer in a career that never again scaled such heights. In four further outings in the group stages, Davis had 1 for 155 from 44 overs, tidy but hardly enough to keep out the likes of Malcolm Marshall. After the World Cup, he would play 29 more times in the maroon cap, but there would only be 30 more wickets. An accident in 1998 left him paralysed, but along with the likes of Gary Gilmour and John Davison he has a corner all to himself in the World Cup Hall of Fame.
Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo