'There is no release' - Modern India pace attacks remind Bishop of fearsome Windies line-up

By Sports Desk May 27, 2020

Former Windies bowler turned commentator Ian Bishop has heaped high praise on the current India pace attack, drawing comparisons to the relentless West Indies bowling units of the 1970s and 80s.

With a line-up that included the likes of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, and Colin Croft, the West Indies team of that era became a nightmare for opposing batsmen.  The four-pronged bowling attack was relentless but also possessed some skill to go along with sustained aggression.

Despite initially being known for producing top-class spinners, India has in recent years produced a fearsome pace bowling attack of their own.  The likes of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, have proved capable of rattling even the best batting line-ups around the globe.

Bumrah has arguably been the pick of the pack and has developed a reputation for terrorizing opposing batsmen with pace and movement, despite a relatively short run-up.  Ironically, it was the West Indies that were rocked back by the bowler last year when he put on an outstanding display during a series between the teams, particularly during a Test match at Jamaica’s Sabina Park.  Bumrah returned outstanding figures of 6-16 from 9.1 overs - including just the third Test hat-trick by an India bowler.

“When you have three fast bowlers, sometimes four and an excellent spinner, it takes my mind back to the West Indies pace quartet before my generation, the Marshalls, the Holdings, the Garners, the Roberts – I’ll stick Colin Croft in there,” Bishop told Cricbuzz in Conversation.

“There is no release point, two come out, two come on.  There is no flow of runs and there is always a threat of penetration and physical harm to a lesser extent.  That is one of the things that makes this group of fast bowlers excellent.”

Related items

  • Curtly in the cold - legend desperate for chance to help West Indies cricket Curtly in the cold - legend desperate for chance to help West Indies cricket

    West Indies fast bowling legend Curtly Ambrose has bemoaned the lack of an opportunity to be a part of the current Cricket West Indies (CWI) set-up in any type of capacity.

    The 56-year-old Ambrose, one of the most revered bowlers in world cricket, previously served as the bowling consultant for the senior team.  He was, however, replaced by Roderick Estwick in 2016 and has not been involved with the program since.  According to the legendary pace bowler, however, it isn’t for a lack of trying.  Ambrose has since added to his coaching credentials, becoming one of 25 officials from the Caribbean and North America to attain Level Three coaching certification from a program organised by Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2018.

    “Since I was sacked from the senior team back in 2016, I have done a few bits and pieces in-between, in terms of some coaching stints with a few fast bowlers, but not on a consistent basis,” Ambrose said in a recent interview on Antigua’s Good Morning Jojo radio show.

    Coaching is, however, not the only job the former player has applied for.  He recently also threw his hat in the ring for a position on the selection panel.

    “I figured whether it is coaching, being a selector, or whatever I could do to help West Indies Cricket go forward, I am always ready and willing to do so.  There was nothing to do to in terms of the coaching part of it, so I decided to put in for being a selector because I thought that I could help, because I am a very fair-minded person and I just want to see West Indies cricket get better," Ambrose said.

    "They interviewed me, Jimmy Adams and the vice president (Dr. Kishore Shallow), for about an hour, and I didn't quite make it."

  • In Honour Of: Malcolm Marshall & the last time West Indies won a series in England In Honour Of: Malcolm Marshall & the last time West Indies won a series in England

    The last time West Indies won a series in England was in 1988.

    A 36-year-old Viv Richards was the captain, Curtly Ambrose had only played three Tests, Ian Bishop hadn’t made his debut, Brian Lara wasn’t yet in the Windies set-up and I wasn’t born.

    Thankfully, with advances in technology whether it be Google or a trek through the archives of YouTube, there is enough information, that once willing to read and watch, one can get a great understanding, if not the complete picture of some of the great moments savoured before our time.

    1988 started in uncertain fashion for the West Indies after they had to fight to stave off Pakistan in a home series they managed to draw, winning the third and final Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados by two wickets.

    Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Larry Gomes, three members of the squad which had dominated the world for close to 10 years had retired just over a year earlier.

    Other key players Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Jeffrey Dujon had all passed age 30.

    Heading into the England series, the late great Malcolm Marshall was the most experienced bowler with 53 matches and that was more than the other pacemen combined.

    In fact, that was one of the biggest concerns for the West Indies going into the series as Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Patrick Patterson, Winston Benjamin and Ian Bishop had combined for just 38 matches.

    Thankfully, for the Caribbean side, the tour lasted approximately three months and along the way they played 16 first-class matches, eight of which were warm-up games.

    They lost all games in the 3-match One Day International series at the beginning of the campaign but as time went on and conditions became more familiar, they improved, drew the first Test and then sped away with the series 4-nil as their unbeaten series run approached a decade.

    Malcolm Marshall was simply outstanding in that series, his best ever in terms of wickets taken (35), average (12.66), strike rate (34.83), economy rate (2.18) and career-best figures of 7 for 22.

    The Barbadian was also well backed up by his “inexperienced” pace bowling support cast.

    Ambrose snared 22 scalps at 20.22 while Walsh and Benjamin each took 12 wickets

    Graham Dilley (15) was the only England bowler among the top five wicket-takers for the series.

    While Graham Gooch topped the batting chart with 459 runs, 7 of the top ten run-scorers came from the West Indies.

    Overall it was a disastrous summer for the home team who used 4 captains in the five Tests.

    It was a microcosm of a dreadful period leading up to that summer where England won just seven of their last 52 matches.

    Most importantly for the West Indies though is that they gave the cricketing public a fierce reminder of why they were the world’s number one team and that their days of producing world-dominating fast bowlers were far from over.

    It took another seven years before West Indies lost a Test series, beaten 2-1 at home by Australia in 1995.

    Unfortunately, though, it has taken them far longer to feel the glory of triumphing in England.

    In 1988, a helmetless 25-year-old Phil Simmons was hit on the head by a delivery from Gloucestershire bowler David Lawrence in fading light at Bristol.

    He underwent emergency surgery at hospital and while he played no further role on that tour he did make a full and often considered miraculous recovery.

    32 years later, Simmons has the chance to lead West Indies from the coaching bench.

    If he is successful in leading them to victory, it will hardly be considered miraculous, especially since the Windies are the current holders of the Wisden trophy but surely, against the odds, it would be among his and all his players’ greatest ever achievements.

  • Rain-affected first day sees West Indies make early statement Rain-affected first day sees West Indies make early statement
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.