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I saw a ‘Cricket’s Greatest’ centred around Michael Holding the other day, and it got me thinking about the timeline of West Indian bowlers. Holding, I felt, was before my time – the great West Indian bowlers were Curtley and Courtney when I was a lad, with the likes of Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner just names they would use in commentary to give David Gower the willies (or Willeys, as any cricket student would have it).

So I thought I’d have a quick look at how they all fit together, Holding and Garner, Walsh and Ambrose, and which of them overlapped and when. Nothing scientific, just the years they played tests. My first cut-off was 20 wickets. That was too low, too busy (right click and view to see it in full)WI1So I adjusted the filter to 50 wickets and that was a much more satisfying end product. What troubled me is that Viv Richards was on that particular list. It didn’t feel like a list of bowlers for having Sir Viv on it.

Here’s the reimagined one with the bar raised a further thirty wickets. Even the pattern indicates the decline of the bowlers; so many more West Indian bowlers have been called upon as time goes on and, though this isn’t entirely clear, the bars are shorter towards the bottom too. Nowadays, you try, you fail, they move on without you. Best of luck to you, Jomel Warrican.


What did I learn? Holding and Ambrose never coincided, nor did Roberts and Walsh. Of course, everyone already knew this, especially those who were there at the time, but they’re pretty shapes and now I know too.