I've just been reading a book written in 2002 by David Frith entitled Bodyline Autopsy - great book if you get a chance to read it about the England 1932-33 tour of Australia. But I was slightly taken aback by the scathing criticism of the great West Indian sides from 1976-91. Some of the passages accuse the West Indies of almost killing the game. The first quote(no copyright infringement intended).
"West Indies dominated Test Cricket for many years, the splendour of their batting overshadowed by the brutality on show while they were in the field.." It goes on to describe the leg side field and relentless day long barrage of short balls. "It was a lamentable fact that throughout an entire innings front-foot batsmanship was all but impossible against West Indian sides captained by Clive Lloyd and then Viv Richards. Scarcely a ball was pitched further than three-fifths of the way down the track."
It then later continues " With such fast-bowling riches at their disposal from 1976 to 1991, West Indies, by their peculiar obcession with the short pitcher squandered a golden chance of becoming not only the premier cricket team in the world but one to be universally admired and feted by prosperity."
It goes on to describe how they would only bowl 70 overs a day and at least 4 balls an over were unplayable - I think you get the picture.
This period was before satellite TV was commonplace in the Uk so we never saw much overseas cricket, but apart from the infamous assault on Close and Edrich at Old Trafford in 1976 I don't recall these "bumber barrages". Yes they bowled bouncers, but not four balls an over and rules were in place to rule against intimadatory bowling, so what were the umpires doing? Maybe on the harder pitches in Australia or the uneven bounce in the West Indies was more condusive to the short pitched bowling. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the West Indies in action in those years and find the attack in this book distasteful and disrespectful.