“The problem with cricket is, in a few years, your career will just be your stats.” This reflects Sir Wesley Hall’s deep thoughts on life, cricket, and careers. Now 87 years old, Sir Hall, once a terror to batters, is a reminder of how time changes everything. Known for his fast pace and powerful presence, he now moves slowly and speaks softly, a stark contrast to his once commanding baritone voice.

Sir Hall’s reflections are more philosophical now. He believes that no matter how great a career, it eventually boils down to numbers. “The problem with cricket now is… they look at what’s happening in another 10, 20, 30, 40 years. Everything is going to be your stats. Nobody’s going to remember who the bowler was or anything like that. They’ll be looking at the stats. 

Sir Hall was at the Oval to present his biography, “Answering the Call – The Extraordinary Life of Sir Wesley Hall,” to some Indian players. Among those who received a copy were Rohit Sharma, Rahul Dravid, and Virat Kohli. “I gave three books today, to the captain and another one to the coach. I wanted three of them because they were/are great players,” he said. When asked about Virat Kohli, he praised him highly. “I just told him that he’s the best batsman in the world. 

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Sir Hall also shared his thoughts on India’s fast bowlers. He recalled only one true fast bowler from India during his time, Kapil Dev. However, he acknowledged the current fast bowling attack led by Jasprit Bumrah. “The point is, I’d rather get you out than hit you. You know what I mean? I think Indian fast bowling is top class. It doesn’t really matter who gets the first wicket or the second one, but you know that they’re good enough to deal with it. And that’s the way you should look at it. You want your bowlers to be [like that]. Look at your fast bowlers. When I played, you had one fast bowler. I mean, one genuinely fast bowler. That was Kapil Dev. And a lot of spinners, a lot of great spinners. But things have changed. I think they’ve [fast bowlers] have done very well for India.”

Sir Hall likes to see big, imposing fast bowlers like Joel Garner, known as “Big Bird,” and Curtly Ambrose. “You have to remember that immediately after we left the scene – Hall retired in 1969 – we had about 21 fast bowlers in the West Indies. Some of them couldn’t get in the side like some of your batsmen [Indian batsmen] did not get inside. I like a paceman that is six feet [tall], like how Big Bird used to be, or one from Antigua, [Curtly], Ambrose was. These fellas, you know, when they bowl, they were able to get that bounce. Batsmen, you’re not going to get runs!”

Regarding West Indies cricket, Sir Hall expressed a mix of philosophical acceptance and optimism. He acknowledged that many talented players have chosen franchise cricket over representing the West Indies. “At one time we had some very great players, but they weren’t playing Test cricket. That’s the problem, you see. If I’m from the proletariat and I don’t have any money and somebody offered me a million dollars for four years, well, then I could not really refuse it.”

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Yet, he is not overly worried about the current state of West Indies cricket. “Well, I would say as of to-date, I’m not concerned. If you told me two years ago, I would be very concerned. And that’s what happens. You just need to get some players who will stick with you.”

Sir Hall spent much of his life in Barbados, where the pitches were once a nightmare for batters. Over the years, these pitches have changed, becoming more favorable for batting. He believes the quality of fast bowlers is crucial for maintaining pacy and bouncy pitches. “You can be dropping pigeons. If you see what has happened in Adelaide. They have drop-in pitches. We don’t all have the money to get drop-in pitches. There’s no point having drop-in pitches unless you have good fast bowlers,” Hall said, struggling to articulate his point but never missing it, much like he never missed being at his fiery best while bowling in his prime.

Age has indeed slowed Sir Hall down, but it hasn’t diminished his passion for West Indies cricket. Even at 87, he remains a strong advocate for the sport, reflecting a life dedicated to cricket. Sir Wesley Hall may be frail and weak now, but his love for cricket and his fiery spirit remain undiminished.


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