SOS for Devendra Bishoo benefits region’s spinners

by David Harris

Saqlain Mushtaq (right) makes a point to the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre’s head coach Graeme West.
Saqlain Mushtaq (right) makes a point to the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre’s head coach Graeme West.

The decline of leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo has ironically led to regional spinners getting the opportunity to improve on their skills from a master of the craft.

This was revealed today by West Indies coach Ottis Gibson who told Barbados TODAY that the diminutive Guyanese spinner’s loss of form had played a major part in him seeking out the services of former Pakistani off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq to conduct a training session for some of the region’s spinners. Mushtaq is credited with creating the mystifying ‘doosra’.

“At the back of my mind was Devendra Bishoo, when I spoke to Saqlain about the clinic. Devendra’s decline has been a sore point with me and I hope that this clinic will be the spark to get him back into the frame of mind he was in a few years ago,” Gibson said while at a media briefing session at the University of the West Indies’ 3Ws Oval.

Bishoo was called up to the West Indies squad for the 2011 World Cup and impressed during the tournament. He made his Test debut in the same year and after his first year of international cricket was named the ICC’s Emerging  Cricketer of The Year. Eleven Tests and 13 One-Day Internationals later, Bishoo was out of the West Indies side and has not played for the senior team since April 2012. During that time other spinners including Sunil Narine, Veerasammy Permaul and Shane Shillingford have been preferred to him.

Gibson stressed the importance of senior players passing on the benefit of their years of experience to the young and up-coming generation.

“I hope that the skills Malcolm Marshall and other great fast bowlers taught me will be passed on to our young pacers. I also hope the our young spinners who attended this clinic will learn from Saqlain,” Gibson said.

He noted that the West Indies series in India would be a tough one for the players.

“We were preparing for the tour to New Zealand and then this tour to India came along. It will be a real challenge, we have won six test matches on the trot but this trip to India will give us a real opportunity to see how much we have improved,” Gibson said.

He added: “The last time we were in India we played well but Chris (Galye) was not in the team, we should be stronger this time. After India we go to New Zealand who gave England a torrid time when they played there earlier this year. If we can defeat them our ratings will go up, so we have a lot to aim for.”

Gibson acknowledged that the two tours would be long but thought his charges would do well.

Mushtaq toldBarbados TODAY he was impressed with the skills displayed by the young spinners who had been part of his training clinic.

“There were over 20 young spinners in the clinic and I have seen a lot of potential and what is even more important these young cricketers are willing to listen and learn,” he said.

When asked to compare the spinners he coached with their young Pakistani counterparts, Mushtaq said the talent and skills were very much evident here.

“I have seen the variations, I am impressed with the off-spinners and the left arm spinners. I have seen variations, there is no doubt that in the future the West Indies will produce world class spinners,” he said.

Mushtaq said he was impressed with the work ethic of Shillingford. He explained that Shillingford was willing to work on his craft and was a good student of the game.

“I am working on his mental and technical skills with the India tour in mind, among the things I have explained to Shane is that his variations in India  cannot be the same as in England,” Mushtaq said.


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