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Friday, November 5, 1999 Published at 14:32 GMT

Sport: Cricket

An energetic enthusiast for cricket

Marshall had been settling into a coaching role back in May

Click here to send your Malcolm Marshall tributes

BBC Cricket Correspondent Jonathan Agnew played against the late Malcolm Marshall at Test and county level, and remembers him as a ruthless opponent whose company he relished.

Of all the great modern day West Indian fast bowlers, Malcolm Marshall was possibly the most skilled.

He led the second wave after Andy Roberts and Michael Holding had changed the face of modern cricket in 1976.

Marshall generated a wicked pace from only a short, scampered run-up and a surprisingly slender frame.

[ image: Ruthless with a smile]
Ruthless with a smile
In his early days, pace was everything, but in the latter-part of his career, Marshall became renowned as a highly intelligent pace bowler.

He was capable of bowling virtually any delivery, and while he always did so with a bit of a stare and a glare at the batsman, behind that was a lovely, warm Barbadian smile.

Like all top-class sportsmen, Marshall relished a challenge.

Although I remember him well, my fondest recollection is one shared by millions of fans.

In 1984 he took seven wickets for the West Indies against England at Headingley, despite bowling 26 overs with his left arm in plaster.

Amazingly he also batted one-handed, scoring four runs as he steered Larry Gomes to a century.

This effort was typical of the man.

[ image: Good company off the field on the county circuit]
Good company off the field on the county circuit
In all, Marshall claimed 376 wickets for the West Indies at the astonishing average of only 20 runs each.

And he was certainly no mug with the bat, taking this side of the game extremely seriously and performing a dangerously effective role in the lower order.

It was a delight that he played 13 years with Hampshire, taking a stack of wickets and leading them them to victory in the Benson and Hedges final of 1992.

But his presence in England gave those of us playing on the county circuit in the 1980s a chance to get to know him, and relish his company - off the field at any rate.

He was much more than just a ruthless fast bowler, and I recall him as an energetic enthusiast for cricket.

[ image: Jonathan Agnew: Test debut against Marshall and the West Indies in 1984]
Jonathan Agnew: Test debut against Marshall and the West Indies in 1984
The sudden nature of Marshall's death was a tragedy for West Indian cricket, and for his many friends.

He had appeared to be settling in to a new life as the international side's coach when he was struck down with cancer of the colon as recently as May.

The really sad thing was that the people who knew him believed he was getting better, and an operation performed during the World Cup was thought to have been a success.

He married his long-time love, Connie, shortly afterwards and recently returned to Barbados to recuperate from an intense course of chemotherapy.

At only 41 years of age, news of his death is desperately sad.

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