Curtly Ambrose (left) and Courtney Walsh formed one of the deadliest bowling combination in history © Getty Images
Courtney Walsh, the former West Indies fast-bowler is gearing up to play Ian Botham’s T20 game in St Kitts on the sidelines of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2014. Walsh is currently a mentor with the Jamaica Tallawahs and in an exclusive chat with Nishad Pai Vaidya, he talks about fast bowling in T20 cricket, the challenges of staying fit in the modern era and a lot more.
Courtney Walsh, the legendary West Indian fast bowler, is looking forward to the Beefy’s Bash game, where stars from yesteryear will clash in fun outing at St Kitts. Walsh is currently a mentor with the Jamaica Tallawahs at the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2014 and will be with his side when they face Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel in the semi-final on Wednesday. In a chat with CricketCountry, Walsh spoke about T20 cricket, fast bowling in the format, and keeping fit in the modern era and a lot more.
CricketCountry (CC): What are your expectations from the all-star game in St Kitts? When was the last time you bowled and will it be difficult for you to get back into action tomorrow?
Courtney Walsh (CW): It is a fun game. It should be a good, fun and enjoyable game. It is about meeting up with old friends and having a good time. I played a couple of games last year. It won’t be difficult. It will just be a couple of overs, so I’ll be alright.
CC: What is your view about the challenges of bowling in T20 cricket for fast bowlers?
CW: I wouldn’t say it is difficult. It is a different skill set. It is more of a batsman’s game —the wickets are a lot flatter. You have to practice your skills and be consistent. It is challenging. The margin for error is very slim. You make an error; the batsman will make you pay. It is a major challenge for the bowlers, but if you get it in the right areas, you’d come out not to bad.
CC: What would you say about some of the innovations in fast bowling such as the slower bouncer? Something like that would have been unimaginable in a previous era.
CW: I think it is good to practice that skill and then you show it in the game. Sometimes in Tests matches and One-Day Internationals (ODIs), it can be very effective. As a bowler you have to practice your skills. As I mentioned earlier, the challenge lies in practicing different skill sets so that you have different options in your armour.
CC: What has been the impact of the CPL on the Caribbean in the first two editions?
CW: The great thing about the CPL is the fans have come out to support. There is some high quality cricket that has been played. To have Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Bravo, Jerome Taylor and all those guys playing in the CPL, in front of packed stadiums is very,very good. The youngsters who are watching on television would want to come and play cricket. I think it is exciting and is good for cricket in the Caribbean.
CC: Whom would you pick as some of the fast-bowlers to watch out for from this edition of the CPL? And who would be your best bowlers in general?
CW: There are a number of fast bowlers who are doing well. Jerome Taylor has done well. [Ronsford] Beaton has had a few good games and will get better. Andre Russell is coming back into his own as a fast bowler. We have seen Fidel Edwards looking good in a number of games. So there are number of fast bowlers to look at. Jason Holder too has come on and bowled some very good spells. There is Ravi Rampaul as well. We are looking at a number of fast bowlers and they have shown that they have something special to do and they have bowler well in the CPL so far this year. [Sunil] Narine has obviously been bowling well. [Samuel] Badree too has done well. But for me, Narine would be the one. He has been the best bowler in the CPL so far.
CC: With all the formats being played, do you think it is difficult for the fast bowlers to maintain their fitness through that?
CW: I don’t think it is difficult to maintain fitness. You’ve got to want to maintain that fitness to perform. It is up to the individual to keep himself in shape and fit for the workload ahead. The only way to do so is to make sure you are doing the right thing — the right exercises to get the strength in your body.
CC: You spoke about keeping oneself fit, when compared to your time, do you think the young fast bowlers are doing a lot more than they should and hence are breaking down?
CW: The problem is that they have not looking after themselves as well as they could or should. A lot of cricket has been played and a lot of cricket will always be played. You’ve got to get your mind and body up for it. Maybe the youngsters haven’t worked as hard as they could. You can get injured, don’t get me wrong. But, you can minimize the chances of getting injured.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)