Legendary spin bowler Lance Gibbs, has extended advice to the West Indies team which recently lost the test series to Bangladesh after collapsing to an innings and 184-run defeat in the second test.
Speaking at the launching of volume two of the ‘Hand-In-Hand History of Cricket in Guyana’, Gibbs, who at one time held the record for most career wickets in test matches, acknowledged that “the West Indies are not having the best of times.”
The 84-year-old stated, “Guyana is a member of the West Indies cricket team that is currently not having the best of times. I have to comment that to improve, the team needs to do a few important things in addition to all the coaching they currently receive.”
These simple things, he pointed out, were to “study academically, build their stamina, research and expect to exploit the weakness of batsmen.”
“You cannot bowl the same way to every batsman under every circumstance,” he added.
Author of the book that was launched, Professor Clem Seecharan, also acknowledged the difficult times the West Indies team is going through, and said we must know where we came from in order to know where we are heading.
Gibbs, who was a leg break bowler turned off spinner, remembered golden games such as “get the ball bowl” where the batsman would try to strike the ball and the fielders try to retrieve it. Whoever got the ball will bowl. This provided the environment for better fielders while another game called “two tip” obligated the batsman to run after hitting the ball twice, which he compared to baseball.
The former West Indies cricketer recalled that there were unique ways of getting out, saying “like lbw (Leg before Wicket), that had to occur twice, trust me, there were no rules like pitching in the rough and behind the line, if the ball hit your legs, then you are out lbw.”
Gibbs related that when the teams were playing for runs, you had to hit the ball into the neighbour’s yard to be awarded six runs. He recollected the innovative nature of the children of those times who formed bats with old pieces of wood shaved with a cutlass, and balls made of seeds wrapped in rubber or tape.
“From these games, many formidable cricketers were produced. When you read the professor’s book, it reflects that was the foundation of our great success,” he said.