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Want more batsmen to come through PSL - Bishop
Pakistan Super League

Want more batsmen to come through PSL - Bishop

The former West Indian fast-bowler talks about his experience at the PSL, fast bowling, and young Pakistan talent.

This was your first time at the PSL. You have commentated in various leagues all around the world. How has been this particular experience?

It has been good. The quality of the cricket has been very high. It has been competitive. So many last over finishes in this tournament, I think 11 of 21 games have finished in the last over. To me that is unprecedented in a single tournament.

Especially here in Sharjah, the crowds have turned out. So it has been excellent. I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cricket has become fast. How do you compare today’s cricket than your playing days?

I think there are a lot of things about the modern game and T20 in particular that demand a great deal of skill. And I see no reason why T20 should be looked down upon. The need to score at a certain pace and the requirement from the bowlers to bowl different variations with a great deal of control and the way fielding has evolved, you see Kieron Pollard’s catch, you see Darren Sammy’s catch that’s outstanding.

So I love it. I love the analytics that have come into this game.

There are so many games being played. You see teams play two matches in space of 24 hours which make them prone to injuries. You had your share with them. How should they avoid injuries?

Well if there is one thing, you want to see game spaced out a little bit more. That’s one requirement.

You can get injuries: if you are overused and from bad technique. But I think a modern athlete is very well drilled and he is very well trained. They have started to understand how to build their bodies and how to maintain their bodies.

We had a lot of injuries in our days back then as well. So I don’t know if there are more injuries today than there were 25 years ago.

How did you cope up with the injuries when you were playing?

Not very well! Injury is nothing that is pleasurable for a sportsman for anyone in life.

Your body is not made to bowl fast. When God sat down and created man, he did not say that this is a fast bowler’s body while creating a particular body type.

So you just have to try and build your body as much as you can. You can rest as much as you can. More importantly, have the right technique in the things that you are doing and then see how it goes.

If you get injured, you rehabilitate and then you come back.

But your body looks purpose built for fast bowling.

I don’t think anyone’s body is built for fast bowling. It is a very demanding, very very demanding skill. I wish I knew as much about the changes of pace, that the modern fast bowlers have, back when I was playing. Slower-balls, slower-bumpers, and cutters are great addition to the game. Slow yorkers and wide yorkers show fantastic thinking of a fast bowler.

A lot of young talent has come through the ranks in this season. Last year Mohammad Nawaz, Hassan Ali, and Mohammad Asghar being brought to the limelight. This year we see Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, and Usama Mir. How can be this talent nurtured?

I don’t understand Pakistan’s first-class system well enough to be able to talk about how it can be nurtured. You need to have a system in place in your academies and your follow-up coaches for some of the young kids like Hassan Khan and those guys who are 18 years old.

Because if they get picked for international cricket at some point in future and they perform, people find out about you and then you have to upskill a little bit and seek guidance from those around you.

You’ve got a really good chairman of selectors in Inzamam-ul-Haq. He is very experienced. I am sure Inzamam will give them the right guidance. Mickey Arthur is a very technical coach, I think.

But I want to see another one or two batsmen coming through. We have seen leg-spinners. We have seen someone like [Usman] Shinwari and Ruman Raees.

Zaman is 26, he is not a spring chicken. But I want to see another young batsman coming through.

Right from the start of this tournament focus has been on the venue of the final rather than the teams that will go through. There have been a couple of bomb blasts in the recent days. But how can the international community, in terms of commentators and players, help to bring back cricket in Pakistan if they are not willing to tour the country?

If I had an answer to that question, wouldn’t I be a rich man! I think it is a very difficult situation for fans of Pakistan cricket and it is very unfortunate.

I am sympathetic to the people of Pakistan nation. I have played in Pakistan many times and I loved it. But I really don’t have an answer to that one. I am sorry, I don’t know!