Friday, December 2, 2022

CWI: Special tribute to Malcolm Marshall

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THE MAN WHO BOWLED AND BATTED WITH A BROKEN THUMB

Today we remember Malcolm Marshall on his birthdate. The legendary fast bowler was born on April 18, 1958. He passed away on November 4, 1999 at age 41. Sir Clive Lloyd was Marshall’s captain for most of his illustrious career. Sir Clive spoke to CWI Media and recalled one of the “greatest and most courageous acts” he witnessed in all his years involved in cricket.

He was referring to the heroics of Marshall – who broke his hand but played on with a hand in protective plaster – bowled to take seven wickets and batted to hit a one-handed boundary. It was the summer 1984, the famous tour of England, and Marshall sustained a double fracture to left thumb during the match at Headingley. Under normal circumstances, he would be ruled out of the match, but he braved the injury and soldiered on.

Remarkably, he took seven wickets for 53 runs after he struck a one-handed boundary – and helped West indies win the match. The visitors won the series 5-0 for a famous “BlackWash”. As Sir Clive reflected on the life and heroics of one of his “trusted lieutenants” he immediately spoke of that significant performance in West Indies history.

“Malcolm was a special cricketer … actually I would have to say he was an ‘extra-special cricketer’. He got his wickets with three other great fast bowlers alongside him – so in many ways the wickets were ‘shared’ yet he ended with a remarkable record as a bowler,” Sir Clive said.

“The performance with a broken hand was one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen a cricketer do, certainly one of the most memorable things in my time around the game. The one thing I remembered most was everyone said he couldn’t play and we would be depleted. I was sitting with him and asked ‘you think you can play?’. He replied: ‘Skip, if you want me to play I will play!’”

Sir Clive recalled the heroics as he highlighted how Marshall batted with on­ly his right hand to help Lar­ry Gomes to his cen­tu­ry, Mar­shall steamed in with the bandage on his left arm and destroyed England’s batting line-up.

“It was one of his best bowling performances. Normally, with such an injury guys would be expected to miss a match. He was there with the bat … he stayed at the crease and helped Larry Gomes to a hundred. Those are special things you remember… the togetherness and commitment and how they would do anything for West Indies,” Sir Clive said. “I had a lot of time for Malcolm, he wore his heart on the sleeve and West Indies cricket was first and foremost. He must rank very close to the top of all time. He was a master tactician, he could read the game very well, he was a great thinker and that’s why he was also a great coach.”

Mar­shall was the first West Indian fast bowler to take 300 Test wickets. Overall, he ended with 376 wickets at 20.9 each. In Mar­shall’s first decade in the side (1977-1987) West In­dies lost three Tests and were world cham­pi­ons. He was also a member of the victorious team which won the Cricket World Cup in 1979 – with a victory over England at Lords.

He de­buted for West In­dies in In­dia in 1978 as a medium-fast bowler, with just a sin­gle first-class match­es un­der his belt. He ma­tured quick­ly and ce­ment­ed his spot in the Test squad be­fore dom­i­nat­ing the world stage. In his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer, Mar­shall al­so took 157 wick­ets in 136 One-Day In­ter­na­tion­als. He man­aged 1,651 wick­ets at an amaz­ing av­er­age of 19 runs per wick­ets in 408 first-class match­es.

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