Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding was one of the best fast bowlers in his time. He was a part of the West Indies team that had a fast bowling unit second to none. With Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Andy Roberts by his side, Holding was capable to give sleepless nights to even the best of batters during his playing days. In a recent discussion on fast bowling, the former West Indian great who is a renowned commentator now, picked the best four fast bowlers across generations.
Holding, who had picked up 249 wickets in 60 Tests and 142 wickets in 102 ODIs for West Indies, named Australia’s Dennis Lillee, his teammates Malcolm Marshall and Andy Roberts and modern-day great Dale Steyn as the best of the lot when it came to fast bowling.
Dennis Lillee (355 wickets in 70 Tests and 103 wickets in 63 ODIs)
“Lillee had it all: rhythm, aggression control. He was extremely fast when he started, but he had to completely reshape his action after a back injury and find different ways to get hitters out after losing a lot of rhythm,” Holding said in a Sky Sports podcast.
“When you see that someone can adapt in that way, you have to rate him highly, as many players are not as effective when they miss a beat.”
Malcolm Marshal (376 wickets in 81 Tests, 157 wickets in 136 ODIs)
“Malcolm started with a good rhythm, but as time went on he learned a lot about fast bowling. He could evaluate opposition hitters so quickly and so easily. In those days you didn’t have many tapes or computers, it was all in his head He understood how to deal with hitters,” said Holding
Andy Roberts (202 wickets in 47 Tests, 87 wickets in 56 ODIs)
“Andy was someone I learned a lot from. He hardly ever spoke, he used to walk around the field with a sullen face and people thought he looked aggressive and must be a miserable guy. But that wasn’t Andy.”
“He was my roommate for most of my career and we used to talk about cricket almost every night. A lot of times, we would order food, we would stay in our room and talk about cricket. You would never believe how much this guy knows,” said Holding
Dale Steyn (439 wickets in 93 Tests, 196 wickets, 125 ODIs)
“I have experience with those three guys, but just watching, you can’t go Dale Steyn outside of photography. He has been one of the great fast bowlers in an era. You’d pay to see it, “ added Holding.