Walsh wants to help
By Tony Cozier in JOHANNESBURG
February 5, 2004
COURTNEY WALSH has joined the growing list of former West Indies players concerned that their help has not been solicited by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
"I would like to think I could help the bowlers but the WICB have not asked me," Test cricket's most successful bowler with 519 wickets, told former England bowler Angus Fraser in an interview in yesterday's Independent newspaper in London.
"I have asked Curtly (Ambrose) the same question and nobody at the WICB has asked him as well," he added.
Walsh's comments follow similar comments in the past six months by Sir Garry Sobers and Andy Roberts.
Sobers, universally accepted as the finest all-rounder to have played the game, said last year he was keen to assist with coaching and advice to young players, if not in any full-time position.
He acknowledged that then WICB president Wes Hall, a former teammate, had broached the subject with him but that there had been no follow-up.
Roberts, one of the fearsome fast bowling quartet of the late 1970s and early 1980s, said he was keen to assist fast bowler Jermaine Lawson in correcting his action that reported as illegal by umpires David Shepherd and Srinivasa Venkatargaha-van during the final Test against Australia last May.
Instead, the WICB appoin-ted Jamaican Philip Service, one of its qualified coaches, called in biomechanics experts from England and South Africa and sent Service and Lawson to Australia in an effort to straighten out his delivery action. Eight months later, Lawson's action has still not been cleared. Walsh told Fraser he tried to help out the Jamaican team "whenever I can."
"They have asked me to work with them," he said. "Sometimes I coach the bowlers and on other occasions I go along to speak to the team and motivate them."
Walsh, who retired after the 2001 home series against South Africa, described watching how the present crop of fast bowlers perform as "a real disappointment."
"We are not bowling anywhere near as well as we can," he said. "The potential is there but there has been a real lack of consistency. The word on the street is that Curtly [Ambrose] and myself should come out of retirement."
Fraser said he sensed that the form of the West Indies bowlers and his lack of involvement are frustrating Walsh.
"I was speaking to Mikey [Michael Holding] the other day about the tradition we used to have," Walsh said. "We have not always had four great fast bowlers but we have always had one or two that stood out. The younger bowlers used to follow the example set by these."
He noted that, at the moment, there was no one to spearhead the attack.
"We need to find out if this lack of consistency is caused by a lack of discipline or bad practice," he said. "It could be that this lot just don't have it in them and we need to find a new crop. But I don't believe that is the case."
He named Fidel Edwards, the 21-year-old Barbadian, and Jerome Taylor, the 19-year-old Jamaican, as two bowlers "with the ability to go all the way."
"They could become the leaders we are looking for but it may be a bit too much to ask of them right now because they have not yet learnt their trade," Walsh said. "They need more help from the senior players."