Walsh says he preferred ball to show aggression

Published: Monday, November 13, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:A perfect ambassador of the gentleman's game who perhaps never mouthed a foul word to abuse a batsman, former West Indies pacer Courteney Walsh said he preferred the ball to do all the talking during his playing days.

Here in the capital as Jamaica's ambassador-at-large to woo the Indians to the West Indies, Walsh was all grace and charm during his interaction with the media.

At a time when players resort to psychological disintegration, an euphemism for slegding, of the opponents, Walsh remained a gentle giant throughout his career and asked where he derived the aggression from, the towering retired player said, ''With the ball.

I mean I let the ball do all the talking.

''Of course, sometimes it worked and sometimes not,'' he quipped.

One of the few bowlers who played against Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, Walsh was not game for a comparison between the Mumbaikars.

''I came towards the middle of Sunil's career and the start of Sachin. No comparison but both are true masters of the game,'' he explained.

Asked for his comment on the recent doping scandal involving the Pakistani pace duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, Walsh said he had sympathy for the bowlers but ''you have to get down to the issue and clear the bottom to help cricket get back to where it was.'' Walsh hung up his cricket boots after a 16-year-long career, incredible for a pacer which prompted his Gloucestershire teammates to dub him Duracell.

Asked to compare his legendary fitness with that of the contemporary bowlers, Walsh asked his successors in the trade to take proper care of their body.

''You have (Jerome) Taylor, (Steve) Harmison and Brett Lee who are among the best right now. But let's see how long they last.

''Pacers need to take care of their health and look after their body. It doesn't mean spending too many hours in the gym. I did little bit of everything,'' he explained.

And it was not very surprising that two spinners - Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan -- are leading the list of wicket takers in Test cricket, he observed.

Asked if he felt too much cricket was being played, resulting in players' burnout, Walsh said, ''That's not for me to say but I think the boards needs to sit and decide how they would like their bowlers to perform and burnout is indeed a reason for worry.'' On the forthcoming World Cup, Walsh was happy with the way West Indies is playing under captain Brian Lara even though he admitted they need to improve their Test match performance.

''Of course we are not doing very well in test matches. But right now, the focus is on the World Cup and if they can win it, that would leave a good legacy and the youngsters would work hard to improve their show in Test matches as well,'' he elaborated.


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