A left-arm rarity on the West Indian circuit, Pedro Collins is a fringe West Indies Test player who began his First Class career in 1997. As a left-arm fast-medium bowler with the ability to swing and cut the ball, Collins added variety to a mundane West Indies bowling attack in the late 90s and early 21st century.
Born in 1976, Collins started playing cricket when his native Barbados had a strong fast-bowling tradition. Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Sylvester Clarke were some of the Barbadian fast bowling greats playing in the 80s. Collins’ half-brother, Fidel Edwards, was also a regular member of the regional team from the year 2003.
As a genuine number 10 or 11 batsman, Pedro Collins was picked primarily for his bowling ability. He has the distinction of being one of the few West Indian bowlers in the era of decline, to take over 100 Test wickets. Collins reaped 106 Test wickets at a fair average of 34.63 from 32 matches (at the end of 2008). He had a decent return from his limited ODI career as well- taking 39 wickets from 30 matches with an economy rate of 4.61.
Collins made his Test debut against Australia at Port-of-Spain in 1999. He took match figures of 3 wickets for 118 runs in a debut made forgettable by the West Indies’ batting collapse in the second innings. Collins’ ODI debut came later in the same year against Pakistan in Sharjah. His first ODI was not significantly better as he conceded 58 runs in his ten overs without taking a wicket and couldn’t contribute a run as the West Indies were bowled out for 117-to lose by a whopping 138 runs.
Pedro Collins’ inauspicious debut- in both forms of the game-was remedied by later stellar performances. His most memorable moment was in the West Indies’ home series against India in 2001, where he claimed the prize wicket of star batsman Sachin Tendulkar on three occasions. Although he had seven 4-wicket hauls and three 5-wicket hauls in Test matches, Collins was essentially a support bowler for the Caribbean side.
The bane of Collins’ career was that he didn’t possess much variety. His stock delivery was the ball shaping away from the right-handed batsman from over the wicket. He was only able to move the ball either way from batsmen later on in his career. Not being able to mix his deliveries or be consistent enough, ultimately hindered Collins’ ability to garner better returns on the international stage.
Having spurned a return to the West Indies squad-in favour of fulfilling his duties with English County side, Surrey- it is unlikely that Pedro Collins will make a return to international cricket. Yet, he proved to be a good support bowler when he had the chance. However, in an era where the West Indies lacked quality in every department, Collins could and should have been much more.
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