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Friday, November 5, 1999 Published at 01:14 GMT

Sport: Cricket

Malcolm Marshall: Scourge of batsmen

Batsmen were never comfortable when faced with this sight

Batsmen the world over slept a little better when Malcolm Marshall hung up his boots.

Despite being a relatively short man, his power and deadly accuracy bamboozled many an opponent over 19 years of first-class cricket.

The West Indies fast bowler played 81 Tests before retiring in 1992. He was central to the phenomenal success of the team during the 1970s and 80s.

[ image: Celebrating another of his 376 Test wickets]
Celebrating another of his 376 Test wickets
Born in 1958 in Bridgetown, Barbados, Marshall made an immediate impact on his first class debut for the island in 1977.

He took seven wickets for 97 and was rewarded with a first West Indies cap a year later, at the age of 20.

From there he never looked back, eventually taking 376 Test wickets at a miserly average of 20.94 runs.

Four times he took 10 or more wickets in a Test, and he remains the sixth highest wicket-taker in Test history.

Short and fast

Marshall was genuinely fast despite being only five feet ten inches tall.

His deadly accurate bouncers were feared by batsmen the world over.

[ image: Popular with team-mates and opponents alike]
Popular with team-mates and opponents alike
But he was also exceptionally accurate and capable of getting late swing, due to an unusual method of gripping the ball and his unique action.

His other strengths were a powerful run-up and an uncanny ability to swing the ball late. Even the finest batsmen found Marshall's bowling, nigh on impossible to play.

The team, with Marshall perhaps the most feared quarter of the four-man pace attack, was the finest in the world at the time.

His career was to last until a farewell against England at the Oval in 1991, but he was at his best three years earlier.

The 1988 series with England saw him take 35 wickets at an average of just 12.65, as he terrified the life out of England's batsmen.

At Old Trafford that year he took seven England wickets for 22.

[ image: Marshall made the most of his five feet ten frame]
Marshall made the most of his five feet ten frame
Marshall's illustrious career also saw him claim 157 victims in international one-day matches, while he was a committed performer in domestic cricket.

As well as Barbados, he played first class cricket in South Africa, and his adopted English home of Hampshire.

He was leading wicket taker with 134 in the 1982 English season and topped the averages in 1986 and 1988.

The crowning moment of his county career came a year after his Test farewell, with Hampshire winning the 1992 Benson and Hedges Cup at Lord's.

Marshall was not just a bowler. He was a more-than-useful batsman, and later a committed coach for Hampshire, West Indies and Natal.

One-handed bat

He scored more than 11,000 runs in first-class matches, at an average of nearly 25, and made six first class centuries.

[ image: At the crease: An accomplished batsman]
At the crease: An accomplished batsman
One of his most heroic efforts was with the bat at Headingley in 1984, where he broke his thumb.

He returned to bat one-handed at no 11 and help Larry Gomes to a century before going out with the ball and destroying England with figures of seven for 53.

Malcolm Marshall was one of the finest talents to have graced the game. It is to his credit that he continued to serve the game he loved after his playing days ended.

He was coaching his national team when he first complained of stomach pains during the 1999 World Cup, less than six months before his death.

He is survived by his wife, Connie, whom he married two months ago, and his son.

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