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Windies~~ form Taylor-made for World cup

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Jerome Taylor is not built along the lines of the traditional West Indies fast bowler. He's not tall like Garner, Holding et al. Nor is he rugged like Marshall. He is however, just as lethal as any of them, and over the last year, he has emerged as the kingpin of the West Indies' attack.

Perhaps, his lack of size had a lot to do with the early injury setback he suffered in his career.

Three years ago, Taylor was called into the West Indies squad at the age of 18, after he was named the most promising fast bowler in the West Indies domestic first-class championship.

In his first season, he collected 21 wickets in six first-class matches, which included a spell of eight for 59 in a Jamaica win over Trinidad&Tobago.

As a slight-looking young man, Taylor burst on to the international stage, and bowled consistently over the 90mph mark, bringing back memories of Malcolm Marshall. He can bowl toe crushing Yorkers spot on with great pace at his whims.

A back injury limited his international appearances however, although he picked up 26 wickets in the 2005 season.

He was the West Indies' most successful bowler last year, taking 28 wickets in seven Tests, and 39 scalps in 23 limited-overs internationals.

His most memorable moment last year came in the ICC Champions Trophy in India.

After West Indies easily came through a three-match qualifying competition against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe, they were confronted by world champions and eventual winners Australia in their first group match.

Chasing 235, Australia looked on course for victory before Taylor wrecked their batting with four wickets - including a hat-trick - for 49 runs his allocation of 10 overs.

With 21 runs required and 14 balls remaining, Taylor removed Mike Hussey and Brett Lee with the last two balls of the 48th over of the match, and dismissed Brad Hogg in the first ball of the final over.

It meant Australia's last wicket pair of Nathan Bracken and Glenn McGrath required a highly improbable, if not impossible 15 off the remaining five balls, and Taylor confined them to four.

The 22-year-old fast bowler revealed that he was so engulfed by the gripping closing stages of the game that he did not even realise what he had achieved.

"I did not even realise that I got a hat-trick until after the game, when it was brought to my attention just before the presentation ceremony," he said in an interview recorded after the game.

"I was so focussed on ensuring that we won the game, and that I bowled the ball in the right areas, that it did not even occur to me or any of my teammates. We all just wanted to win so badly."

If West Indies are to defy the odds and win the World Cup, they will need Taylor to again produce such special moments consistently throughout the competition.

AFP

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