Malcolm Denzil Marshall (April 18, 1958 - November 4, 1999) was a West Indian cricketer. Primarily a fast bowler, Marshall is regarded as one of the finest pacemen ever to have played Test cricket, and indeed some have suggested he was the finest of all. His Test bowling average of 20.94 is the best of anyone who has taken 200 or more wickets. He achieved his bowling success despite being, by the standards of other fast bowlers, a short man - he stood at 5'9", while most of the great quicks have been well above 6'0" and many great West Indian fast bowlers, such as Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Colin Croft, were 6'6" or above. Marshall was also a very dangerous lower-order batsman, usually batting at around number eight. He had ten Test fifties and a number of first-class centuries to his credit.
Marshall's first senior appearance was a Geddes Grant/Harrison Line Trophy (List A) match for Barbados on 13 February 1978; again he made a duck and did not take a wicket. Four days later, he made his first-class debut against Jamaica, and whilst he failed to score runs he claimed 6-77 in the Jamaican first innings. On the back of this single first-class appearance he was selected to tour India in 1978/79, many first-choice West Indian stars being unavailable having committed themselves to playing World Series Cricket.
Marshall came to prominence in 1980, when in the third Test at Old Trafford he accounted for Mike Gatting, Brian Rose and Peter Willey in short order to spark an England collapse, although the match was eventually drawn. After 1980/81 he was out of the Test side for two years, but an excellent 1982 season when he took 134 wickets at under 16 apiece, including a career-best 8-71 against Worcestershire, saw him recalled and thereafter he remained a fixture until the end of his international career.
In seven successive Test series from 1982/83 to 1985/86 he took 21 or more wickets each time, in the last five of them averaging under 20. His most productive series in this period was the 1983/84 rubber against India, when he claimed 33 wickets as well as averaging 34 with the bat and making his highest Test score of 92 at Kanpur. A few months later he took five in an innings twice at home against Australia.
In 1984/85 he had another successful series at home against New Zealand, although there were calls for the his bouncers to be ruled as intimidatory beyond what was acceptable, and that Marshall should have been admonished by the umpires. As well as the bouncer, however, Marshall succeeded in swinging the ball in both direction. He also used an in-swinging yorker as well as developing an effective leg-cutter, and with the exception of the 1986/87 New Zealanders, against whom he could only manage nine wickets at 32.11, no side seemed to have an answer to him.
1988 saw his career-best Test performance of 7-22 at Old Trafford, and he ended the series with 35 wickets at 12.65. Marshall was coming towards the end of his international career, moreover, and though he took 11 wickets in the match against India at Port of Spain the following winter, he played his last Test at The Oval in 1991. His final Test wicket - his 376th - was that of Graham Gooch.
He played for Hampshire again in 1993, taking 28 wickets at a shade over 30 runs apiece, but that was to be the end of his time in county cricket, and in 1994 his only game in England was against the South Africans for the Scarborough President's XI during the Festival. He played five matches for Scotland in the 1995 Benson and Hedges Cup without much success, and his last senior games were for Natal in 1995/96. In his very last senior appearance, against Western Province in a limited-overs game at Cape Town, the first of his two victims was his former international team-mate Desmond Haynes.
The Malcolm Marshall Memorial Trophy was inaugurated in his memory, to be awarded to the leading wicket-taker in each England v West Indies Test series. Another trophy with the same name was set up to be the prize in an annual game between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
After his death
Malcolm Marshall Memorial cricket games are also played in Handsworth Park, Birmingham. On the Sunday of the UK's August bank holiday, invitation XI's play against an individual's "select eleven".