Bridgetown (Barbados): Legendary West Indies off-spinner Lance Gibbs says poor pitches in the Caribbean are affecting the ability of spinners in the region and compromising their development.
“The wickets in domestic cricket are too under-prepared and spinners are being made to look better than they are. In my day for example when we played in Barbados or Guyana, spinners had to work hard for their wickets, because they were very good batting surfaces,” Gibbs said, reports CMC. “The wickets in Guyana now and at times in Trinidad turn too excessively which is not helping in proper development of spinners or batsmen and their ability to play spin.”
Gibbs, who turns 81 at month-end, remains probably the finest spinner to ever emerge from the West Indies. In 79 Tests between 1958 and 1976, he snared 309 wickets at an average of 29 with 18 five-wickets and two 10-wicket hauls. Gibbs also said the technique of many regional spinners needed to improve, noting Sunil Narine, Devendra Bishoo and Shane Shillingford as the only stand-outs. “When I was taught to bowl spin, it was to be done with a high arm action and delivering the ball at shoulder length where you literally would touch your ear. This is one of the reasons why I believe those three (Narine, Bishoo and Shillingford) have had success,” Gibbs contended.
“Other slow bowlers in the region I don’t see this and it’s a big handicap for them because a high arm action allows spinners to get bounce, which is key to troubling batsmen at the highest level.” However, Gibbs advised Narine, in light of the ongoing problems with his action, to abstain from bowling the controversial doosra. “I might suggest Narine should stop bowling the doosra or any other deliveries that may complicate his action and just focus of perfecting the off-break and other line variations, because in my time spinners didn’t bowl that delivery.”