Croft sees Dillon as destroyer

Trinidad Express

Friday, January 2, 1998

FORMER West Indies pace bowler Colin Croft has identified Trinidad and Tobago's Mervyn Dillon as the man England's batsmen must watch during their Caribbean tour which starts later this month.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Croft calls the 23-year-old Toco-born quickie ``simply one of the best Test prospects for years'' and says he could ``seriously inconvenience Michael Atherton's side in the Caribbean''.

Citing the evidence of the Third Test against Pakistan in Karachi early last month, Croft concludes that Dillon, unlike many of the players now wearing the region's colours, knows what it means to play for the West Indies. In that Test, he says, Dillon ``summoned up the determination to take five wickets on the third morning of only his third Test and recapture some West Indian pride''. Dillon finished with five for 111 from his 25 overs in Pakistan's first innings.

Croft, who played in 27 Tests and claimed 125 victims, names Jamaica's Franklyn Rose as one of the rocks on which the new fast bowling era for West Indies will have to be built and suggests that Reon King of Guyana and Nixon McLean of the Windward Islands may well be a part of that select group.

``But it is Dillon,'' he says, ``who stands head and shoulders above the rest''. West Indies coach Malcolm Marshall, Croft reminds his readers, identified Dillon as a bowler of pace and potential and ``seconded'' him to Hampshire, where he was also coach, for guidance.

The former Guyanese pacer now turned columnist contends that Dillon's bowling action makes the off-cutter his natural offering and adds that his habit of running ``wide enough, thus becoming very full-chested on delivery'' allows him to use a very effective technique ``of pulling his fingers across the seam of the ball to effect the leg-cutter, his surprise delivery''.

Citing ``aggression'' as the young quickie's major asset, Croft adds that his ``surprisingly high arm action and his great height give him other options, particularly the ability to get the ball to bounce awkwardly from good lengths.''

Croft, who will be covering the England series for The Telegraph , ends with the lament that Dillon's arrival on the scene coincides with a difficult time in West Indian cricket history. But that, he says, is offset by the fact that ``the experience of Pakistan will have matured him as no other tour can''.

Source: The Express (Trinidad)

Contributed by CricInfo Management, and reproduced with permission
Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 18:58