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Joel Garner (born 16 December 1952), also known as “Big Joel” or “Big Bird”, is a former West Indian cricketer, and a member of the highly regarded late 1970s and early 1980s West Indies cricket teams.

He was a 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) fast bowler capable of ripping through the heart of opposing batting line-ups. In conjunction with fellow fast bowlers Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Colin Croft, and later Malcolm Marshall, Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, the West Indies reached unprecedented heights in the Test and one-day cricket arenas, not losing a Test series in 15 years.


One of the tallest bowlers ever to play Test cricket, Garner appeared in 58 Tests between 1977 and 1987 and took 259 wickets at an average of barely above 20, making him statistically one of the most effective bowlers of all time. However, it was in limited overs cricket that Garner put his height to use with devastating effect. In 98 matches he took 146 wickets. He had the ability to unleash a devastating yorker, as well as the ability to generate more bounce. He is one of the two players (the other being Mitchell Starc) with more than 100 ODI wickets to average under 20, while his economy rate of just over 3 runs per over, and average of less than 20 runs per wicket are also the best ever for any bowler who took more than 100 wickets. His 5 for 39 in the 1979 Cricket World Cup final against England remains the best ever performance by a bowler in a final; it included a spell of 5 wickets for 4 runs, and he was on a hat-trick twice.

He was also the part of the West Indian team which emerged as runnersup in 1983 ICC Cricket World Cup.In the finals he along with Sir Andy Roberts set the highest ever 10th wicket partnership in World Cup history(71)

Garner played for Barbados in the West Indies, for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield and alongside Viv Richards and Ian Botham for Somerset in the English County Championship. He was at Somerset in the most successful time in the county’s history. In Barbados, his club team was YMPC.

Until the appearance of 7 feet 1 inch (2.16 m) tall Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Irfan in 2010, Garner and former Australian pace bowler Bruce Reid, who also stood at 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) tall, were the tallest players ever to play international cricket.

After retirement

In October 2010 Garner was named interim manager of the West Indies for the tour of Sri Lanka. He was one of the new faces in the team including captain Darren Sammy.

In the 2013 election he was the BCA candidate for vice-president of the West Indies Cricket Board, losing to Dave Cameron‘s running mate, Emmanuel Nanthan of Dominica, 8-4. As of 2016 he continues as Barbados Cricket Association president, spearheads West Indies drive in Masters Cricket, has served as a West Indies selector, and fulfils various other duties.

International record

Test 5 wicket hauls

# Figures Match Opponent Venue City Country Year
1 6/56 13  New Zealand Eden Park Auckland New Zealand 1980
2 5/56 28  Australia Adelaide Oval Adelaide Australia 1982
3 6/75 33  Australia Bourda Georgetown Guyana 1984
4 6/60 34  Australia Queen’s Park Oval Port of Spain Trinidad 1984
5 5/63 36  Australia Antigua Recreation Ground St. John’s Antigua 1984
6 5/55 38  England Edgbaston Cricket Ground Birmingham England 1984
7 5/51 57  New Zealand Basin Reserve Wellington New Zealand 1987

ODI 5 wicket hauls

# Figures Match Opponent Venue City Country Year
1 5/38 6  England Lord’s London England 1979
2 5/31 48  Australia Melbourne Cricket Ground Melbourne Australia 1984
3 5/47 86  England WACA Ground Perth Australia 1987

International awards

One Day International cricket

Man of the Match awards

S No Opponent Venue Date Match Performance Result
1 Australia Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne 12 February 1984 10-1-35-5, 1 ct. ; DNB  West Indies won by 6 wickets.
2 Australia Adelaide Oval, Adelaide 27 January 1984 10-3-17-3 ; DNB  West Indies won by 6 wickets.
3 New Zealand Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain 17 April 1985 6-1-10-4 ; DNB  West Indies won by 10 wickets.
4 India Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah 22 November 1985 9-4-11-2, 1 Ct. ; DNB  West Indies won by 8 wickets.
5 England Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain 31 March 1986 9-1-22-3 ; DNB  West Indies won by 8 wickets.