West Indies Having An Excellent Pace Attack Is 'Huge For The Sport'
England's three match Test series against West Indies sees the return of a strong pace attack for the visitors, and a throwback to their dominant sides of the 70s, 80s and 90s.
The names Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose will be well known to all cricket fans of any age.
The five men, and plenty of others, were part of the incredible West Indies sides over three decades where they were amongst the best Test sides in the world.
Things changed around the beginning of the 21st century with the retirements of Walsh and Ambrose but as the current team start their condensed tour in England this summer, three Tests in the next three weeks, they have a pace attack that is starting to rediscover the tradition of great pace attacks.
Talking to SPORTbible exclusively ahead of the opening Test on Wednesday, BBC television presenter Isa Guha explained how important it is for the sport as a whole and, not just 'WIndies' to have such a pace attack, "The 'Windies' have got a very good pace attack, I think similar for England. Both of the sides have got incredible depth in their pace attack, their pace reserves, and then it's really about the batting. A little bit of inexperience for both teams in that top order. I think there's so many different styles across the team.
"It's huge for the sport. It's something that really affected the older generation of West Indies cricketers to see the decline and you could see the anguish a lot of the time in watching West Indies cricket slip away, after being such a dominant force for such a long time.
"So to actually see that resurgence of pace bowlers in the Caribbean, that desire to play the longer format, all the infrastructure around it, the administration, it feels like they're on an upward curve again. They've got an excellent captain in Jason Holder. They've got an incredible depth of fast bowling, there's a real battery there of fast bowlers.
"To see it with the West Indies, for the global game it's brilliant to see and the importance of having such a good pace attack. You look at India and how armed they are with their pace bowlers so, really promising for West Indies cricket."
Guha, who will present the highlights programme on BBC every night after play, says that Chemar Holder is the player she's most excited to see, "I'm looking forward to seeing Chemar Holder, a youngster from Barbados, I've heard good things about him. I'm not sure if he'll start, it will depend on their experienced bowlers and if they're fit enough, guys like Shannon Gabriel.
"Alzarri Joseph, I'm also looking forward to seeing, even though he's quite young he's a bit more experienced than some of those other guys. I'm looking forward to seeing how he's progressed since the last time we saw him."
England's pace attack is also in an interesting and exciting place. With Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad closer to the end of their careers than the beginning and Mark Wood and Jofra Archer both showing the pace that could make an impact in Australia in 18 months time.
Behind them the likes of Chris Woakes, Saqib Mahmood, Olly Stone, Craig Overton and Ollie Robinson will be hoping to make an impact this summer, with three Tests against Pakistan also to come in August.
With cricket back on BBC for the first time in over 20 years Guha is excited and hopes it can have an impact on the sport in this country, "It's very exciting, cannot wait to get started. For me as a cricket fan and for many of us in the cricket bubble we obviously think cricket is amazing but we represent a small part of the population and the wider audience turn their attention and focus to other sports.
"To be able to have it on the BBC, where it can go out to the masses in a bite size way. It's highlights, it's 7 o'clock, it's an hour; so you're getting the best bits from the day's play in that hour, so actually, for people who haven't necessarily watched cricket that's the perfect entry into seeing what it's all about.
"The fact it's on BBC means we have so many different platforms to be able to talk about it, so many different radio stations, so many tv channels, and shows that hopefully that message does get out there. At the end of the day it's about putting it in front of people's faces isn't it. The more you talk about something the more it subconsciously infiltrates people's minds and hopefully we have the perfect platform now to show why cricket is amazing."
Hopefully the two pace attacks will show it in the best way!
Highlights from the England v West Indies
Test series will begin on 8th July on BBC Two from 7pm