West Indies in England, 2004 July 28, 2004

Stop making excuses, says Bishop

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Ian Bishop has let fly at the West Indies team, accusing them of performing poorly and then making excuses about being inexperienced. Channel Four's website reported Bishop as saying that unless the excuses stopped, the team wouldn't start winning.

Bishop, a stunningly fast bowler until back injuries forced him to cut down his pace, was a part of the great West Indies team of the late 1980s and early '90s. His outburst was brought on by frequent justifications of losses by the team. "I don't want to hear the excuse that this is an inexperienced side which is still learning and should not be judged too harshly," said Bishop. "We repeatedly say that they are an inexperienced lot, but there are enough experienced players in the line-up to provide the backbone to the team. Ramnaresh Sarwan, Brian Lara, Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul have played a lot of Test matches now. Pedro Collins has plenty of experience too."

He believed the claims of inexperience were actually detrimental to the side, as they would soon believe they are not experienced enough. "We need to stop using that as an excuse because if we keep on saying it they will start believing it and not pick up their performances. I think a year or so is all the time needed before you should really start understanding what Test cricket is all about."

Bishop spoke about how the bowlers had been around for long enough and had shown potential, but not consistency. "The bowlers have all shown that they have talent but I want to see it coming to the fore now, some of the time they are not even getting the basics right. On the first day of this match, it took us an entire day to understand that we should be bowling length and line."

He said that Lara would have to take more responsibility for the team's performance and the direction it was headed. "First of all the captain [has to take responsibility], because he's taking the team onto the field, but also the coach and manager. Lara's record as captain is not very good and this is a tour that will determine whether he is the right person to lead the West Indies in the future," Bishop said. "What they want is the whole team performing collectively and consistently, we are not going to beat England with just one player performing well."

He offered advice on what the team could do to get itself back on track. The first point he raised, was of discipline. "The guys have played a lot together and need to be more focused and disciplined in their cricket. As well as Lara and Gus Logie, the board must have some responsibility in planning for the future development of West Indies cricket. We do need a fulltime bowling coach and we do need someone advising these guys," Bishop stated. "We need more discipline in the camp."