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With 6-foot-8-inch height and a high-arm action, when Joel Garner bowled yorkers, it seemed like the ball was coming down from the skies akin to lightning, nibbling away at the bat and breaking the wickets.

[caption id="attachment_157" align="alignright" width="200"]Big Bird’s yorkers helped West Indies win 1979 World Cup (Photo: Getty Images) Big Bird’s yorkers helped West Indies win 1979 World Cup (Photo: Getty Images)[/caption]

Being undefeatable for almost 15 years and being a part of the world famous “Fearsome Foresome” bowling attack of the West Indies, Joel Garner was born today in Barbados in 1952. He started his Test and one-day career in 1977 and never looked back.

He was the first one-day bowler whose fear impinged on the minds of batsmen world over. Famously known as “Big Bird”, his yorkers were called “yorkers from hell”.

Those were the bowlers like Garner that West Indies ruled the world of cricket in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The pace attack of four bowlers, Michael Holding, Collin Craft, Andy Roberts and “Big Bird” Joel Garner, was more than a nightmare for all the batting line-ups.

How can the English batsmen forget the lesson given by Big Bird? In the final of the 1979 World Cup, just one spell of Garner crushed their dream of becoming world champions. Chasing a 287-run target, when England were trying to control the steadily increasing run rate, Garner bowled out the famous batsmen Graham Gotch and David Gover in a single over. He wiped out the English tail in the next over to help West Indies win the cup.

England lost eight wickets within 11 runs, thanks to Garner on the one hand and Collin Craft on the other. Big Bird took five wickets for 38, which was certainly the best bowling performance in a World Cup final.

Though Vivian Richards was declared the man of the match, but Joel Garner was rather more important for the West Indian crowd. Enthused by the support of the crowd, he threw his 15-size shoes towards them so that they could keep it as a remembrance.

In his one-day career, Joel Garner got 146 wickets with an outstanding average of 18.84 and economy rate of 3.06, which is still a world record. One-day cricket has seen many great bowlers after him like Waseem Akram, Waqar Yunus, Imran Khan and Muralitharan, but no one could match Joel Garner in this regard. In his 58-match Test career, Garner took 259 wickets with an average of 20.97.

NameCountryDurationMatchesBallsRunsWicketsBestAvgEco. rate
Joel Garnerویسٹ انڈیز1977-198798533027521465/3118.843.09
Max Walkerآسٹریلیا1974-1981171006546204/1927.303.25
Mike Hendrickانگلستان1973-1981221248681355/3119.453.27
Bob Willisانگلستان1973-19846435951968804/1124.603.28
Richard Hadleeنیوزی لینڈ1973-1990115618234071585/2521.563.30

In 1980, Wisden awarded Garner as the best player of the year and in 2006 the International Cricket Council (ICC) declared him the number one among the world’s best bowlers.

The King of Cricket Statistics S. Rajesh believes that Joel Garner is the best bowler in cricket history with every aspect. Rajesh proved it with the help of stats that how Big Bird was a greater bowler than Glenn McGrath, Waseem Akram, Imran Khan and Waqar Yunus.
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