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Watch: Colin Croft charges into umpire Fred Goodall in heated historic Test series

Colin Croft crashes into Fred Goodall
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: At Christchurch in 1979/80, Colin Croft ran in to bowl at Richard Hadlee. En route, he crashed into umpire Fred Goodall.

Between the two series against Australia – in Australia in 1975/76 and at home in 1994/95 – the mighty West Indian side lost only one Test series. That was in New Zealand, in 1979/80.

The Black Caps beat them by one wicket in Dunedin, and went on to clinch the series with draws in Christchurch and Auckland. It was also one of the most acrimonious contests in the history of Test cricket.


The series was marred by controversies, which largely involved the West Indians’ complaints against the New Zealand umpires. There was some truth in that, if we go by the Wisden Almanack report: “There is little doubt that if both sides suffered from difficult, debatable decisions, more went against West Indies than against New Zealand.”

When umpire John Hastie did not rule John Parker out caught behind, Michael Holding was not amused. He kicked two stumps straight out of the ground. Chasing 104, New Zealand were still reduced to 73-8 by Joel Garner, Holding, and Croft, before going on to win.

In the second Test match, umpire Goodall turned down another caught-behind appeal for New Zealand captain Geoff Howarth, off Garner’s bowling. The West Indian team refused to take field after tea in protest.

When play resumed, Holding claimed another caught-behind of Howarth. That got turned down as well, and Holding responded with a bouncer barrage. By stumps, New Zealand were 248-4 – 20 runs ahead in the first innings.

Over the rest day, the West Indian cricketers announced that they wanted to abandon the tour. Their board insisted they stayed put. A fuming West Indian side took field on the fourth day.

The drama did not take long to begin. Croft bowled short, Hadlee went for it, wicketkeeper Deryck Murray held the catch and appealed, and Goodall turned down the appeal once again. Croft responded with expletives, then bouncers. On his way back to his mark, he knocked the bails off.

When he ran in again, he charged into umpire Goodall. The umpires wanted to have a word with captain Clive Lloyd, who made them walk all the way to where he stood at slip. Lloyd did take Croft off after another over, but that was probably because it went for 15 rather than an attempt to calm the situation.

Hadlee hit his way to a violent 92-ball 103 as New Zealand posted 460. The match petered out to a draw as Gordon Greenidge (97), Desmond Haynes (122), Lawrence Rowe (100), and Collis King (100 not out) all got runs.

After the Test match, Lloyd and West Indies team manager Willie Rodriguez both insisted on neutral umpires in Test cricket’s future. It would take close to another decade for that to happen – but that is another story.

Recently, in the Big Bash League, Tom Curran was involved in an incident somewhat reminiscent of this one, banned for four games for intimidation of an umpire as he undertook a practice run-up.

Watch the Colin Croft-Fred Goodall incident here:


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