|Courtney Walsh's Biography|
AN ERA COMES TO AN END
When The Frog in a Blender, Paul Adams lofted the ball to Marlon Samuels at Sabina Park, it marked the end of an era in West Indian cricket. The records will show that on that fateful day West Indies won a consolation win against the mighty South Africans but the occasion was made special as one of the best quick bowlers of all time and the true gentleman of international cricket, Courtney Andrew Walsh bowed out of international cricket in fine style - match figures of 6 for 93 and 25 wickets in the series.
Walsh took his first wicket against Australia in 1984. The batsman Graeme Wood would not have imagined that the tall West Indian with large expressive eyes would go on to claim 519 Test wickets at an average of 24.4. His 500th victim was South Africa's Jacques Kallis and his last his counterpart from South Africa, Allan Donald, to give him his 519th Test wicket.
THE EARLY DAYS
Church and then cricket
Born on October 30, 1962, in Kingston, Walsh took to the game when he was seven, quickly joined the youth programme at the Melbourne club where he intended to spin batsmen out. While his mother used to be under the impression that Courtney went religiously to the Church on Sunday, Courtney used to spend the sundays playing cricket with his friends! A career in cricket was never in the scheme of things as far as Courtney's mamma was concerned. She thought he would go for something solid like being an accountant. Later at school he would bowl the quicker stuff but still fancied himself as a leg-spinner. At Excelsior High School, the ability to bowl fast took him away from his first inclination.
Matching wits with the big boys
Walsh made his debut as a promising young man at the relatively tender age of 22. In a team that had great names and wonderful performers of the caliber of Holding, Roberts, Garner and Marshall and with Clarke and Patterson relegated to the ranks of the reserves, young Courtney's emergence and inclusion would quite definitely have raised a few eyebrows. He toured with them in England in 1982 and got inquiries from the English League with whom he started his association in 1983. He continued with Gloucestershire in 1984, the same year he got his first cap for the West Indies senior team in Perth.
Courtney Walsh came on the scene in West Indies domestic cricket competition Shell Shield in 1983-84. With the B&H World series cup on in Australia & Holding, Garner, Marshall, Davis and Baptiste playing there and with the rebel players banned (which meant Croft, Clarke, Alleyne, Julian and Stephenson) a number of youngsters like Walsh got an opportunity to showcase their talent. Walsh grabbed the chance with both hands taking the most (30) wickets at 20 apiece. This helped him clinch a spot in the West Indies tour to Australia in 1984-85.
The Dye is Cast
It was Clive Lloyd's farewell series and it proved a memorable one for not just Lloyd but for the West Indies who beat Australia 3-1. With Marshall, Garner and Holding in the side, Walsh was only the support bowler, someone to bowl into the wind to give the three greats a breather. Walsh, though, got into the very first Test at Perth following his 3-54 & 5-60 against Western Australia. He didn't get to bowl at all in the first innings of his first Test as Marshall 2-35, Garner 2-24 and Holding 6-21 polished off the Australians for only 76 in 31.2 overs but in the second he took 2-43 in 20 overs, his first victim being Graeme Wood and the second Graeme Yallop. He was on his way at the age of 22 yrs. and 12 days. A long journey had begun. Asked recently about his debut, he had one comment: that he was proud to be bowling alongside Holding, his hero. That is an indication of his humility.
Walsh was in his first year of Test cricket, but he was already being groomed for the West Indies hit-man squad! For the rest of that 1985-6 series he bowled with Richards at his shoulder, striding in alongside him at mid-off, giving him an occasional encouragement, the occasional hard word. You didn't need to have a crystal ball to tell that this 6ft 6in son of Jamaica would take over when Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Patrick Patterson and the rest were finished.
The Courtney Walsh Award is awarded annually recognizing exemplary qualities in male or female Jamaican nationals between 18 to 40 years of age who represented Jamaica, at senior level in the field of sports. The successful nominee wwill receive cash award of $500,000.00 and a Crystal Trophy administered by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, ans Education Fund (CHASE).
CHASE TREATS GUESTS TO PERFORMANCES BY ITS CLASSICAL STARS
Guests of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education Fund (CHASE) were treated to a special musical performance on May 27 at King's House by talented performers who were awarded scholarships under the Fund's Arts and Culture Portfolio. Entitled "A Classical Evening with CHASE", the sparklin...more...
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