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Windies show hurts Garner

Joel Garner is big in every sense. He is six feet, eight inches tall and has 259 wickets in 58 Tests. As a Test player for the West Indies, he terrorised batsmen.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2003 01:15 IST

Joel Garner is big in every sense. He is six feet, eight inches tall and has 259 wickets in 58 Tests. As a Test player for the West Indies, he terrorised batsmen with his disconcerting bounce and deceptive pace.

He retired 17 years ago but even today he continues to be a big attraction. And ever since he landed in Lucknow on Sunday, Garner has been the centre of attraction. His business in the city? Well, he is the coach of the West Indies team for the first-ever under-19 Commonwealth Cricket Championship.

For the Arif Castle Hostel management here, it's a real "big deal" to host Joel 'Big Bird' Garner. A special bed of seven feet has been constructed to make him comfortable. But he's a man who never complains.

He prefers to keep "silence even on big matters". Just as he played his game - made the cherry dance and also made batsmen's lives miserable. Without much of a sound.

"I enjoyed my career and there was hardly any controversy," said Garner during an informal chat with the Hindustan Times on Monday.

Garner is fond of both Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara but "trying to make a comparison between the two doesn't make sense".

He said: "Both are geniuses and have their own exclusive shades of brilliance. I love to see both score runs."

The meanest-ever bowler in one-day cricket --- 146 wickets at 18.84 -- Garner was an integral part of the great West Indian team in the late 1970s and 1980s, which, under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd and later Viv Richards, conquered the world.

Today, Garner is sad at the fact that Caribbean cricket is struggling to make an impact. "The way we are playing in South Africa now is pathetic.

“I'm not sure whether we will be able to cross the pool stage in the next World Cup in 2007. "Although we have a young team, only few are performing. You can't expect them to produce magic," said Garner, who celebrated his 51st birthday on December 16th. Garner disclosed that he was never offered a job to become the bowling coach of any side in the world.

First Published: Dec 30, 2003 01:15 IST