Devendra Bishoo was West Indies' best performer with the ball throughout the series vs Pakistan    AFP
Devendra Bishoo was West Indies’ best performer with the ball throughout the series vs Pakistan AFP

West Indies legendary off-spinner, Lance Gibbs, has praised Devendra Bishoo on his performance in the just-concluded three-Test series defeat against Pakistan and is encouraging him and other upcoming spinners to seek out former player’s knowledge on the art of spin bowling. Bishoo ended the series with 18 wickets at an average of 27 and broke the tally of most wickets for a West Indies spinner in a series since Gibbs took 21 in India in 1974. Gibbs also reasoned out that since the current fast bowlers have not been of the standard of past West Indian greats, Bishoo and Sunil Narine should be playing more Tests together and rekindle the great West Indies’ spin bowling partnership of the 1950s and 1960s that Gibbs had with Valentine and Sonny Ramadhin. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs West Indies, 3rd Test at Sharjah

According to Cricbuzz, other notable records Bishoo broke during his first Test spell of 8 for 49 were the best figures by a West Indian bowler overseas and the best figures by a West Indies bowler this century alongside Gibbs (1962 vs India), Alf Valentine (1950 vs England) and Jack Noreiga (1971 vs India). He also became one of the only West Indies spinners to have taken eight wickets or more in a Test innings.

That haul was also the second time in 2015 that Bishoo has produced a top-class figures in a losing cause, following his 6 for 80 versus Australia in Dominica.

“Bishoo has always been a talent, so I’m proud to see him producing such a series performance which justifies his ability to join me as one of the few West Indies spinners to take eight wickets in a Test innings”, said the 80 year-old Gibbs.

“Traditionally, spinners start peaking as they approach 30 and I remember speaking to him last year when he was having some problem with his bowling fingers, when I gave him the remedy to the problem I got from Richie Benaud. Since then he seems to be fine because he has bowled closed to 40 overs in a few Test matches,” added Gibbs.

“The wickets in domestic cricket are too under-prepared and spinners are made to look better than they are” stated Gibbs who was once Test cricket’s leading wicket-taker with 309 scalps in 79 games, when he retired in 1976. ALSO READ: Pakistan vs West Indies, Test series: West Indies’ marks out of 10

Bishoo and Narine were ICC Emerging Players of the Year in 2011 and 2012 respectively – but yet have only played one game together for the West Indies, which was a Twenty20 International (T20I) in Sri Lanka in 2015.

“They (Bishoo and Narine) have been the team’s most destructive bowlers when in form in recent years and the selectors have to answer the question why they don’t play more together across the formats. Having been part of a great spin bowling partnership with Valentine and Ramadhin early in my career and it would be great to see that replicated with Bishoo and Narine today. I have been through the mill and believe I have sufficient knowledge to share with any young spinner in Caribbean – along with the other great batsman like Sir Gary Sobers, Sir Viv Richards, Rohan Kanhai, Everton Weekes etc who are alive today”, replied the veteran. ALSO READ: Kraigg Brathwaite: The silent assassin of West Indies cricket

“If the media and overseas players can contact me, I encourage the current players to seek out our knowledge because we are always willing to pass on what we know. In Bishoo’s case, since he is from Guyana just like me, I’d probably help him more,” he concluded.