We have always fantasized about the fact that what if players from the past were actually a part of the current crop of athletes, would they have been lethal in the same way or the current regulations would have bogged them down?
More importantly with the franchise leagues taking over the cricketing canon slowly and steadily, old-school fans like us have always managed to draw comparisons between the shifts put in by the current players in the shortest format of the game to the ones pulled off by their cricketing ancestors who used to hang out in the middle for a gruelling 60 overs.
Indian Premier League being the most famous one out of the entire franchise cricket roster has always been a source of major entertainment to the fans of the sub-continent. To get a snap of this entertainment, we have decided to pen down a list of five Caribbean bowlers who could have scribed history if they were a part of IPL.
1. Joel Garner
Towering at 6 feet 8 inches, the “Big Bird” led the West Indian bowling force for a major part of the decade. Swinging his arm in a menacing action and releasing those devastating bullets from the clouds, Garner made life a nightmare for the batsmen confronting him.
Given his monstrous height and searing pace, even before a batsman could have settled himself at the crease, he would have started hammering them around the ribs.
Also with T-20 cricket lingering around the fringes of death over heroics, Garner could produce inswinging yorkers without breaking a sweat. Imagine the big bird charging down at you when you need to throw your blade at everything and in the process you leave your jocular exposed. Kaboom!
2. Michael Holding
Known by the beloved nick-name of “Whispering Death”, Holding approached the batsmen with a tip-toed run-up and then would go on to produce a bolt of lightning out of the blue. Figures that read 249 wickets from 60 matches, underline his brilliance with the cherry in the hand.
Holding was special for the amount of bounce that he could generate from a flat pitch. All of this can only happen when you have tremendous power in your wrists. Bringing hell down from 6 feet 3 inches, the Whispering Death could have been an unplayable bowler in the IPL ranks, given his accuracy of line and length that always managed to rattle the players in their bodies.
3. Malcolm Marshall
One of the reasons that saw West Indies dictating proceedings in the 80’s was their feared fast-bowling line up. The man who spearheaded the bowling force was Malcolm Marshall, a man who possesed gifts which is a rarity for a fast bowler.
The best thing in Marshall’s arsenal was his cricketing mind that showed him the chartered path to use those special weapons at the right point in time. We have all seen how Bumrah and Malinga can produce regular yorkers in the death overs to leave the opponents stranded. Imagine those yorkers being hurled at you regularly for more than 148 plus kays. That was Marshall for you, a gifted, ruthless, menacing, devastating and most importantly an absolute genius of a pacer.
4. Curtly Ambrose
Though he was introduced in the latter half of the decade, he still managed to wreak havoc with some lethal swing that saw him hogging the limelight for all the right reasons. A man with incredulous figures up his sleeve, Ambrose talked about 405 wickets from 98 games at an average of 20.99, something which is nothing but a myth for the modern generation cricketers.
In IPL, given the haste that the players are always in, such swing from the bowlers would bedevil the batsman trying to wield his bat especially towards the end of an innings. That is why Ambrose would have been an absolute favourite in Indian Premier League.
5. Courtney Walsh
Until 2000, Walsh was the solitary fast bowler to brag about 500 international wickets before others surpassed his greatness. This man was about brute pace.
You may imagine that taking his pace on is exactly what batsmen would love to do in IPL, but what you are unaware of is one ball will race at you around 145 kays followed by another at 148 and the next would immediately drop down to 115 kays followed by 120. Imagine combatting such variation with Godlike precision on the stumps. It would have been nothing short of an absolute carnage.