Roy Gilchrist’s bad temper was even quicker and fiery than his speed and hostility for which he was rightly feared during his short career. West Indies one of the fastest and most hostile bowlers Roy Gilchrist died at his home on July 18, 2001, at Portmore, St Catherine, Jamaica. He was 67 years old, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and pneumonia. His dramatic brief career ended in ignominy in 1958-59. His captain Gerry Alexander sent him home because he bowled over aggressively and had too many beamers to Indian batsmen.
He was tough to manage, with constant friction with Alexander off the field. After that, Roy Gilchrist was banished from international cricket and joined the Lancashire leagues and Middleton. He bowled furiously in 1958 and 1959 and captured 280 wickets. He was successful there and his career was going on to capture 100 wickets every year until 1979.
Roy Gilchrist’s violently over-reactive attitude caused so many troubles throughout his career. Even his ferocious assaults continued in charity matches. His venomous bowling and fiery hostile personality were spearheaded along with Wes Hall.
Roy Gilchrist was a short-pace bowler at around 1.75 m. He seemed to generate extra pace from extraordinarily long arms. In his 13 tests, he took 57 wickets at 26.68 apiece. In 42 first-class matches, his haul was 167 at 26, including 6 for 16 at Nagpur when the West Indians bowled out a Combined Universities XI for 49.
After retiring from cricket, he lived in England for many years. Gilly captured 21 wickets at home against Pakistan in the 1957-58 Caribbean tour. Roy Gilchrist was unsettling Pakistani batsmen who were seeking to avoid facing him. Hanif Muhammad, in a heroic inning of 337, faced 40 Gilchrist overs to save the match for Pakistan. His many balls could have been 95mph past Hanif’s head.
His ferocious bowling continued on the Indian tour taking 26 wickets in just four tests at an average of 16.11. At Calcutta, he was simply unplayable to India by taking the best Test figures of 6 for 55, and out of the five were bowled. His entire life continued for his bad and violent temper. He was sentenced to three months’ probation after attacking his wife.
Once the legendary West Indies batsman Gary Sobers expressed his thoughts about Roy Gilchrist. He said I was playing with Gilchrist against Essex at Ilford in 1957. In his first to Essex, he bowled so fast and one of his balls hurtled over the batsman and wicketkeeper and hit the sight screen on the first bounce. I hardly saw it before. He was the most dangerous bowler I ever faced.
On the fourth Test at Nagpur, A.G. Kripal Singh had struck three consecutive fours to him and taunted him. Then Gilchrist’s bad temper annoyed him, and he deliberately overstepped by six meters and sent a ferocious bouncer which hit the Sikh batsman on the head and dislodged his turban. However, on the same tour, he unleashed a barrage of beamers against Swaranjit Singh, and eventually, he was sent home from this tour.
Even it was revealed by someone, that he had pulled his knife at Alexander. Roy Gilchrist lived in England for almost 26 years before returning to his home in Jamaica in 1985. He was married to Maureen Dixon and had seven children.