Under the SKanner: Devendra Bishoo
West Indies have over the years been unable to produce good quality spinners who can get them wickets in various conditions. Recently, however, a promising leg spinner from Guyana, Devendra Bishoo has managed to establish himself as Windies' number one in Tests.
He announced himself in the Test format with impressive figures of 4/68 against Pakistan in Guyana where, through his brand of leg spinners, he was able to dismiss Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, and Mohammad Salman. Later on, the likes of V.V.S Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Suresh Raina would go on to become his victims.
Lots of promise, talent, energy and the will to toil for long hours against superior oppositions are some characteristics that define Bishoo.
Here we analyse the Caribbean leg-spinner, by looking at his strengths and weaknesses.
Good relaxed approach to the crease
It’s very important for a leg-spinner to have a good, relaxed approach to the crease in order to get the required drift and spin on the ball. The point of release also plays a critical part.
Being a leg spinner is a deceptive art as it’s very easy on the eye but really hard to execute and more importantly control. A leg-spinner can be a team’s biggest asset but if things don’t go according to plan, they can end up being the team’s biggest cause for concern.
Having a good relaxed approach along with a good jump whilst running onto the crease, allows Bishoo to attain fairly good control of his leg spinners, along with the googly and the straight ball or the flipper.
Ability to bowl lots of overs, signifying his importance
It’s critical for every spinner, especially in Bishoo’s case with him being the lead spinner, to be able to bowl many overs.
Right from the start of his career, Bishoo has shown that he can take on the role of a workhorse. He has toiled in unforgivable conditions in the UAE and Sri Lanka, bowling close to 50 overs in an innings and ending up rather successful.
It’s a quality this current Windies team needed as they were looking for stability in their bowling attack with so many new faces in their Test team. Bishoo has stepped up and proven that he has it in him to bowl a lot of overs and become the strike bowler for the team.
In modern cricket, it’s not enough to be a specialist in just one aspect of the game. Every bowler needs to chip in with the bat and also on the field.
Bishoo is surprisingly among the best fielders in the Windies team along with Roston Chase and Jermaine Blackwood. He is equally good in the ring and out in the deep.
His agility and intent to save runs in the field is a big positive. Having a rather small stature, he can run across the field rather swiftly, making him an indispensable member of the Windies team.
Usually, captains have to hide their bowlers on the field as their catching is usually not up to the mark. But Bishoo’s catching is admirable. To top it all, he possesses an amazing throwing arm making him a very good option in the deep in all formats.
Has struggled under pressure
There was a time in Bishoo’s career when inconsistency plagued his game. He was dropped from the team in favour of Shane Shillingford mainly due to his inability to get wickets and the fact that he leaked runs, and most importantly, buckled under pressure.
Windies have played a lot in the UAE, Sri Lanka and even India since Bishoo came into the picture, but what’s worrying is that when the pressure was on him to deliver in spin friendly conditions he failed miserably.
Teams often pin their hopes on spinners delivering in the subcontinent and West Indies were no different. However, on pitches that aided spin, Bishoo struggled, losing control and leaking runs.
Probably a second spinner to support him in such conditions would benefit him. Having to shoulder the entire workload is probably what led to his poor performances in the sub-continent.
Predictability - something that has plagued his career
Bishoo has played all formats of the game, proving that he can adapt to the requirements of each one of them. But something that has plagued his career so far, has been his predictability.
88 Test wickets, 31 ODI wickets and 6 T20I wickets make for good reading but they could have been much better. As a leg-spinner, Bishoo’s biggest strength is his skidding faster ball. Something which has got him most of his wickets.
But once batsmen understand his bowling style, and figure out that his main weapon is the skidder, they attack his other deliveries including his stock leg spinner and the googly.
And with him being the lone spinner, the situation usually demands quick wickets meaning he resorts to many skidders and very few traditional deliveries. This is one aspect of his game which he must definitely improve as teams have figured out his strength.