This team played against Australia in the second and third tests, 1979/80
Of course the West Indies dominated for a long time. I chose this
particular team for the batting (six averages over 40) and for the
bowling of Roberts/Garner/Holding/Croft. In England in 1980 Marshall
came into the team, undoubtedly a greater bowler than Croft, but
he was young then, and Rowe had by then played his last tests (I think
that he had gone to South Africa), and Bacchus proved an inadequate
replacement (test average 26). If you wait for Richardson to come round
then you have lost Kallicharan too. I don't know if the West Indies have
ever had such a batting line up since. You must remember too that
Richards' appetite for runs tailed off later in his career, and so
the earlier you get him the better.
Murray was a pretty good keeper. I don't know if he was better or not
than Dujon, but his batting was not bad either, so I don't think Dujon
for Murray would necessarily be a necessary change.
Holding and Garner, with Marshall, and possibly Ambrose, must rank
supreme among the last twenty years of West Indies fast bowling.
Each had something special. Garner's yorker of course, and Holding's
Although Roberts' figures are a trifle worse, he ranks high in history
because he was the first of the modern band of out and out quicks from
the Caribbean. When he came into the team in the mid seventies, his
fast bowling colleagues were Holder, Julian, and Boyce, all useful
quicks but not of the sheer speed of this group.
Lloyd of course was the man who masterminded the *** that West Indies
had over that period. As for how that *** was achieved, I beg
leave to quarrel with it. I think that on occasion the West Indies tactics
were nothing short of disgraceful, with outrageous intimidatory bowling
that everyone but the umpires could see was a long way outside the Law.
When West Indies came within danger of losing, the over rate would fall
and fall and fall. Neither of these tactics was new to the West Indies.
Indeed, when they toured Australia in 1975/6 they fell foul of Lillee
and Thomson at their quickest and most dangerous (at one time three West
Indians were injured in one innings). And every team used the over rate
to save matches, and still do despite minimum numbers in a day, if the
weather is going to intervene. But I, personally, find both tactics
Having said that, had West Indies played every match with fierce umpires
opposed to intimidatory bowling, and with over limits of 90 overs in a day,
this team would be almost unbeatable because of the high speed and high
quality of their bowling, and their very powerful batting line up.
(Lloyd, for example, had the nice habit of reserving his centuries for
when they were needed).
What of the famous West Indian teams of the fifties and sixties?
Well, in the fifties they had no great fast bowler, while they did
of course have Ramadhin and Valentine. In the sixties, they had the
bowling attack of Hall, Griffith, Gibbs, and Sobers. But I was
surprised at the comparatively poor figures of these players.
For example, the career bowling of the main bowlers in England, 1963:
That is to say, the best of these five bowlers had a worse average
than the worst of the above team's four bowlers. Of course, it again
comes down to era: on a slow turner you would rather have Gibbs and Sobers,
but on the covered pitches of the eighties, I doubt you could do better.