To mark the 50th anniversary of overseas players coming to county cricket in large numbers, we’ve asked an expert on each county to pick their top three for that club. Here’s Somerset, as selected by Vic Marks, writer, broadcaster and former all-rounder for the club.
1. VIV RICHARDS
West Indies (1974-86)
An easy choice – the best I’ve ever seen. Viv played for Somerset for a long time and was hugely instrumental in us winning trophies for the first time.
It meant a huge amount to him. I remember in 1978 when in effect we lost two finals: at Lord’s in the Gillette Cup final and then a Sunday League match the next day. Viv was just distraught, as the rest of us were, but he felt it as much if not more than anyone else. He made damn sure it wouldn’t happen again the next year, hitting a hundred at Lord’s to beat Northants and win the club’s first trophy.
2. JOEL GARNER
West Indies (1977-86)
Everyone loved Joel. He would wander around the boundary during Championship matches for much of the day, chatting to people and signing autographs. He was one of the best bowlers of his era and vitally important in us winning trophies for the first time.
His greatest performances for Somerset were probably in one-day cricket. He was devastating, especially in finals at Lord’s. It is staggering he never won a Man of the Match award in any of the finals he played in. He would take 4-16 or something similar but then Viv would come along and score a hundred.
3. MUSHTAQ AHMED
Mushtaq was the perfect overseas player: a leg-spinner who bowled stacks of overs and someone who whacked it down the order. We’ve had some great names at Somerset – Martin Crowe, Greg Chappell, Steve Waugh, Jimmy Cook – but Mushtaq gets in there partly on longevity.
By the time he went to Sussex he’d found religion. He may not have been quite such a dedicated professional earlier in his career – he was a little bit wilder, especially when Somerset were playing Glamorgan and Waqar Younis was around – but he would bamboozle batsmen and was fantastic to watch.
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Pick up issue 7 of Wisden Cricket Monthly, featuring a 21-page special to mark the 50th anniversary of overseas players in county cricket