Wes Hall Biography
His gigantic frame rushing along the turf, his footsteps shaking the ground, the famed crucifix dangling from his neck, glistening in the sun, the long, fearsome arms about to go into the final hurtling motion to send down another thunderbolt, Wes Hall was the first great West Indian fast bowler who combined the qualities of extreme pace, skill and durability .
From the pivotal tour of India and Pakistan in 1958-59 when he captured 46 wickets, Hall pulverised batsmen for the next decade with lightning speed combined with fascinating quality. He combined with lethal effect with Charlie Griffith, forming the first of many, many terrifying bowling combinations to come out of the Caribbean in the next three decades.
It was apt that his autobiography was named 'Pace Like Fire'.
Some of the feats performed by Hall have become legendary by being dipped in immense drama. He terrorised the Indian batsmen often enough, charged in to demolish sides of Pakistan, Australia and England, being instrumental in winning multiple rubbers through sheer pace. However, he is best remembered for two immortal series and, in particular, two of the most epic final overs witnessed in the history of Test cricket.
The first was the epochal series in Australia in 1960-61, when Hall captured 9 wickets in the Tied Test at Brisbane and bowled the spine-chilling last over, dismissing Richie Benaud with a bouncer bowled against the captain's instructions, somehow managing to drop a skier at square leg, and then restricting the Australian batsmen from getting the required runs. And then it was in England, at Lord's in 1963, when he broke the arm of Colin Cowdrey. And then he ran in for two terrifying deliveries, as the injured man stood at the non-striker's end, arm in plaster, with David Allen, his whole body shuddering from the impact, somehow keep the balls out with five runs to win and one wicket to fall.
His career tailed off towards the end, but he finished with 192 wickets in 48 Tests at 26.38, and can be considered the spiritual ancestor of the long line of West Indian fast bowling greats that followed from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Hall was also a fantastic personality who became extremely popular during his stint in Queensland. He later became a minister of the Christian Pentecostal Church, as also a Minister of Tourism and Sport in the Barbados government.
In 2012, Wes Hall was knighted for his services to the game.