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Thread: Was West Indies' Dominance a Triumph for Intimidation?

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    Was West Indies' Dominance a Triumph for Intimidation?

    I'm not necessarily saying it was, but I remember when I first started watching cricket around the end of their dominant period, being a bit soft and thinking "it's good, it's successful, but somehow it isn't cricket". If you look at the next great team that followed them, the Border/Taylor/Waugh Australia dynasty, they clearly had an intensity to them and took the art of sledging to a new level.

    There's a subtle difference though - if you watch some of the bowling from West Indies sides of the 1970s and 1980s, it's quite apparent IMO that they were either a) deliberately looking to hit people or b) at the very least, use the very real danger of serious injury to create an advantage. Protective equipment was nowhere near as effective as it became in the 1990s and there are some absolute horror deliveries on YouTube that could not be rivalled in scale or volume by any other side in history.

    It makes 'bodyline' look like a trip to the theme park and I can't believe that there wasn't the real intent to cause injury or seriously increase the fear of it. Carribean pitches were frequently an absolute disgrace that loaded the dice in favour of fast, intimidating and potentially dangerous bowling.

    They were undeniably a great side who put all opposition to the sword over a 15 year period - no argument with that. The diminishing quality of their fast bowlers had a great deal to do with WI's decline in test cricket, but then I also think the change in rules on bouncers and improvements in protective gear took a great deal of the intimidation factor away from them as well.

    So how much of West Indies' dominant period in Test Cricket owed intself to physical intimidation? Very interested to hear your thoughts.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazinho View Post

    So how much of West Indies' dominant period in Test Cricket owed intself to physical intimidation? Very interested to hear your thoughts.
    Logically it was the only reason - they were never going to get 20 wickets with spin or medium pace so however good the batting was, and it was pretty useful of course, without the fast men they'd have never beaten anyone

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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    Logically it was the only reason - they were never going to get 20 wickets with spin or medium pace so however good the batting was, and it was pretty useful of course, without the fast men they'd have never beaten anyone
    Fair point well made - of course they were quality fast men and that helped.

    To put it another way - would they have been successful with decent protective gear and the restrictions on short-pitched stuff we have now?

    The batting relied on a different type of intimidation, centred around Viv. They were very much a team who played 'power cricket' in all departments.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazinho View Post
    Fair point well made - of course they were quality fast men and that helped.

    To put it another way - would they have been successful with decent protective gear and the restrictions on short-pitched stuff we have now?

    The batting relied on a different type of intimidation, centred around Viv. They were very much a team who played 'power cricket' in all departments.
    Personally I can't imagine that the likes of Holding, Garner and Marshall would be any less successful today than they were back in the day


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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    Personally I can't imagine that the likes of Holding, Garner and Marshall would be any less successful today than they were back in the day
    Marshall in particular would be great bowlers in any era.

    My hunch is that in the conditions of today, they would be a fraction less successful, unable to brutalise the opposition into submission - still undeniably top-drawer and talked about in ATG terms, but maybe averaging 2-4 runs higher for their wickets.

    The fact that there were fout of them must have contributed to their collective effect on the opposition in quite a big way. They'd struggle bigtime with over rates these days too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    Personally I can't imagine that the likes of Holding, Garner and Marshall would be any less successful today than they were back in the day
    + 1

    First of all they were hardly the first to use fast agressive bowling and it was never an issue when it was Linwall, Miller and Johnson vs the 3 W's especially Everton Weekes, or Lillee and Thompson againts Greenide, Viv and co. Additionally after WSC protection and especially helmets were abundant and effective. So when Marshall in particular made his debut in '81 the batsmen were not defenceless. Marshall also performed better away than home, so much for those minefields that Greenide, Lloyd, Richards and co. had also to bat on. Some of Holding's and Marshalls best performances were on the dead pitches of India, especially in '83, where they pitched up the ball and got results.
    They won at home and away and did it with speed, skill and yes some measured agression, thats cricket.
    Last edited by kyear2; 20-06-2012 at 06:53 PM.
    Aus. XI
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    W.I. XI
    Greenidge | Hunte | Richards^ | Headley* | Lara^ | Sobers5^ | Walcott+ | Marshall1 | Ambrose2 | Holding3 | Garner4

    S.A. XI
    Richards^ | Smith*^ | Amla | Pollock | Kallis5^ | Nourse | Cameron+ | Procter3 | Steyn1 | Tayfield4 | Donald2

    Eng. XI
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    Yes, but this tactic wasn't just a West Indian one, it had been used for decades, first with bodyline, and then Lillee and Thommo. They took it to a new level and were best at it. If you watch fire in Babylon they were essentially trying to mimick the Australians.

    Also intimidation was only one part, they were all great bowlers in the normal sense of the word as well.
    Last edited by NasserFan207; 20-06-2012 at 06:19 PM.
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    Its a complete myth that the WI just bowled bouncers all day, i can upload many hours of ball by ball WI bowling, they just bowled normal deliveries, some boucned higher etc, but it wasn't a bouncer fest by any means. Not one of any of the famed WI fast bowlers overused the short stuff, none of them. People go crazy over a few dismissals or see a montage of 5 batsmen getting hit, that obviously doesn't represent a full days bowling.
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    Quote Originally Posted by robelinda View Post
    Its a complete myth that the WI just bowled bouncers all day, i can upload many hours of ball by ball WI bowling, they just bowled normal deliveries, some boucned higher etc, but it wasn't a bouncer fest by any means. Not one of any of the famed WI fast bowlers overused the short stuff, none of them. People go crazy over a few dismissals or see a montage of 5 batsmen getting hit, that obviously doesn't represent a full days bowling.
    That was the case on average, but there certainly were individual cases were intimidatory short pitched bowling was overused (I can't remember his name, but there was one English batsman who copped about 10 bouncers in a row from Ian Bishop and Courtney Walsh, I think in the early 1990's, you've probably already uploaded it ). I think those individual events may have lead to some taking a slightly darker view of the WI pace battery and their tactics.
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    The Windies won because they had the best bowlers, not because they had the fastest bowlers who bowled the most bouncers.

    The thing was there was no let up. You rarely got to see something different other than real pace at both ends. Even if they weren't blasting you out, it wore you down and was mentally very tough.

    They were also adept, when batsmen were either getting on top or at least keeping them at bay, at slowing the over rate dramtically, which wasn't hard to do when you've four quicks to begin with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgey View Post
    The Windies won because they had the best bowlers, not because they had the fastest bowlers who bowled the most bouncers.

    The thing was there was no let up. You rarely got to see something different other than real pace at both ends. Even if they weren't blasting you out, it wore you down and was mentally very tough.

    They were also adept, when batsmen were either getting on top or at least keeping them at bay, at slowing the over rate dramtically, which wasn't hard to do when you've four quicks to begin with.
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    Actually I don't remember them bowling a lot of bouncers. My memory is of them bowling a lot of balls at the ribs and chest. There is no doubt that intimidation was a large part of their armoury though - you only have to listen to the tailenders who faced them. They were all more worried about avoiding injury than keeping their wicket.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debris View Post
    Actually I don't remember them bowling a lot of bouncers. My memory is of them bowling a lot of balls at the ribs and chest. There is no doubt that intimidation was a large part of their armoury though - you only have to listen to the tailenders who faced them. They were all more worried about avoiding injury than keeping their wicket.
    They had their moments early on - back in 75/76 when Clive Lloyd first used the pace battery against Bedi's India there were plenty of bouncers and injuries. I can also remember seeing that vicious assault by them on Brian Close and John Edrich at Old Trafford in 1976, but they certainly lowered their sights after that - Malcolm Marshall for one always seemed much more interested in hitting the stumps than the batsman, although Patterson and Croft, two of the more peripheral figures of course, were decidedly nasty at times

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    you forget Sylvester Clarke

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    It is probably a bit unfair to group them all together.

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