(Barbados Nation) Malcolm Marshall was a competitor with a thirst for knowledge who always rose to the challenge.
His former new ball partner Joel Garner also called the late West Indies fast bowler a “genuine human being” while paying tribute to him at a Memorial Dinner on Thursday night as part of this year’s Malcolm Marshall Festival at the Legends of Barbados headquarters.
“Some of the things that were really outstanding about Malcolm are that if you talk to him, he was always thirsty for knowledge,” Garner told an audience that included cricket greats Sir Everton Weekes, Reverend West Hall and Seymour Nurse as well as David Holford and Rawle Brancker.
“He always wanted to find out about cricketers. He always wanted to find out how to bowl at people, how to get them out, how to work them out.”
Garner, president of the Barbados Cricket Association, said that throughout his career Marshall would continuously be looking at ways to improve himself.
“Even when he at the point of retirement, he was still learning, and I think it will do the younger players now a lot of good to understand and to really think about cricket in the way that he did,” he said.
“He had a very competitive spirit, whether it was playing cards, dominoes or road tennis.
“It didn’t only relate to cricket in general. It was to everything that he did, he was very competitive and he was always looking to win.”
Garner recalled a match at Leeds in 1984 when he and Marshall decided that they weren’t going to put down the ball until they got the opponents out after he [Garner] was flayed the previous evening.
“He was always there. We always bowled in pairs, we always set ourselves targets and it worked,” said Garner, who took 259 wickets in 58 Tests at an excellent average of 20.97.
“Malcolm was the real ‘gap cricketer’, as we would call them. He bowled, batted, he fielded,” he added, recalling a match in Grenada, where Marshall successfully switched from pace to leg-spin on a flat pitch against the Windward Islands.
“But that was Malcolm, because he realised that ‘hey, we are not going to get anybody out on a flat wicket’ and he bowled spin.”
Garner said he and Marshall – who captured 376 wickets in 81 Tests at an oustanding average of 20.94 – had some fantastic times together, off and on the field of play.
“When you saw Malcolm Marshall, you saw a genuine human being. I don’t care what is written, how many things people say, when you got the opportunity to meet him, talk with him and be with him, you understood that you had a friend,” Garner said.
“When I say a friend, not a today friend, not a [fair-weather friend], but one who is with you through thick and thin, one who always rose to any challenge.”
Garner complimented Mark Gaskin of Lee’s Bistro and Catering Services for his initiative to honour Marshall. He urged cricket fans to attend the Malcolm Marshall Twenty20 Festival at the Desmond Haynes Oval, on Independence Day.
The welcoming address was given by Philo Wallace.