February 19, 2000

Bishop: Get with times

The sooner West Indies cricket moves into the scientific" stage the better it will be for players, the board, fans and well-wishers.

So says former Test fast bowler Ian Bishop, who has urged the West Indies Cricket Board and the various island boards to follow the lead of other Test-playing nations and set up programmes geared at the overall player.

My assessment is that we are not really behind in terms of talent, but some of the other teams are using a more scientific approach and that's where they are beating us, said the muscular fast bowler, who was in Barbados in his capacity as corporate communications officer of British American Insurance.

We are not really as bad as people say we are, but what we have done is stand still, while others made improvements. I don't think we have talent, I know we have talent, running from Under-15, through Under-19 and beyond.

They (opponents) are using charts, they have databases on the opposition, they use videos to spot technical errors, and these have become an integral part of today's game.

The 32-year-old Bishop, who played the last of his 43 Tests against England last year, also mentioned that players' education was a major area for concern.

In Trinidad we have players who have ability but they tend to stagnate after a certain stage. We have to mix skill with education they are parallel, said Bishop, who claimed 161 Test wickets including a best of six for 40.

It is a holistic thing and we have to approach it the way they do it in the United States and Australia, providing players with the framework and groundwork to improve their game and improve themselves.

Bishop, who was manager of the Trinidad and Tobago Under-15 team for last year's region tournament, also touched on the topic of discipline, which he said needed special attention.

He mentioned separate incidents involving Barbados captain Philo Wallace and Guyana skipper Shivnarine Chanderpaul, stating that he would not chastise the players but would urge them to do things differently the next time.

I know them both and they are passionate players, Bishop said of his former Test match team-mates.

They were playing hard for their countries and wanted their teams to win. But discipline is key to life itself and players must understand this.