Walsh predicts Windies triumph

England v West Indies

Watch the England team get a Jamaican welcome while ECBtv caught up with Courtney Walsh

Legendary fast bowler Courtney Walsh makes West Indies favourites for the Test series against England.

Walsh, who occupies fifth place in the Test wickets list with 519 in 132 matches, was on hand to welcome England to Jamaica.

The tourists were treated to an enchanting display of singing and dancing on their arrival but the 46-year-old, who retired in 2001, fired an immediate warning shot to tourists.

He believes the hosts, who have won only two Test matches since June 2005, can turn their dire form around during the four-match series, starting at the modern Sabina Park.

Walsh told ECBtv: “I think this will be, not the deciding Test, but the Test match that sets the whole tour alight.

“It’s a perfect place to start from a cricketing point of view and I’m expecting big things from the first Test match. Both teams will want to start and get the first action.”

He added: “I would bet the West Indies will come out on top. They’re definitely the top team.”

Walsh, who recorded a Test-record 43 ducks, has pinpointed fellow Jamaican Jerome Taylor as the man to spark an upturn in West Indies’ fortunes.

Taylor has already proved himself as a superior batsman to Walsh, hitting an unexpected maiden century in his penultimate Test against New Zealand at Dunedin.

However, it is with the ball Walsh expects the right-arm paceman to star. Although his Test bowling average is a modest 35, the 24-year-old showed greater consistency in 2008 with 27 wickets in eight Tests.

“I’m expecting big things with Jerome Taylor, not with the bat, but with the ball,” Walsh continued.

“I would like to see a good, confident bowler, very dominating and controlled. I think he’s good and experienced in that department and, if he can stay injury-free, I’m sure he will play some good cricket. I think he can live up to all that.

“For me, always to win a Test match you have to get 20 wickets and that’s what they should be thinking about.”

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