Fidel Edwards' progress

The West Indies should definitely play Fidel Edwards at Old Trafford. He's mighty quick and the Old Trafford pitch is rock hard. West Indies' other bowlers haven't looked like bowling England out. Wickets are sorely needed.

The West Indies have long been trying to relocate the line of great fast bowlers that seemingly ended when Courtney Walsh retired. When we watched Fidel Edwards bowl at Marcus Trescothick in the first Test of the 2004 series at Sabina Park in Jamaica, we thought they'd succeeded.

The first ball of Edwards' fourth over was an absolutely searing bouncer. It passed near enough to Trescothick's head for him to know about it, carried on rising and went for four byes. The next ball was full and quicker still - well over 90mph. It feathered Trescothick's bat before meeting his stumps head on, sending them spearing into the crowd, like homicidal javelins.

Okay, so we don't really remember where the stumps went. We do remember those deliveries however. It was classic fast bowling.

If you think that cricket's just a technical game that's all about bowling more consistently than the opposition and making fewer batting mistakes, you clearly didn't see how rattled Trescothick was.

The point is that you can influence your opponents and that's part of the game. That's why Shane Warne has so much to say when he's bowling and that's why fast bowlers can sometimes get batsmen out with bad balls.

Fidel Edwards was 22 then. He's 25 now and he's made precisely no progress. The West Indies are currently picking Corey Collymore ahead of him - an opening bowler so slow that the wicketkeeper can stand up to the stumps.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

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