Two months ago, at the highly-anticipated 2019 World Cup in England, a certain young South African fast bowler – one touted by fan and pundit alike to carry forward the mantle from the great Dale Steyn – rendered completely ineffective. Kagiso Rabada’s deliveries lacked potency, pace or power as his shoulders gave way under the workload put on him. Soon after, India toured the West Indies without Jasprit Bumrah – the No.1 ODI bowler – for the shorter formats. The move paid rich dividends as a well-rested Bumrah ran through the Windies in the two Test matches that followed the T20Is and ODIs.
“If we want to talk about the current young group of fast bowlers, it would include Kagiso, Jasprit, Jofra, and even Shaheen Afridi of Pakistan. One of the things that Michael Holding has been talking publicly for a while is the workload that Kagiso has already gone through. That is why modern fast bowlers have it so difficult. Guys play all formats. I pray that Kagiso – who knows the game – will be managed properly so that he can fulfil what I think is a great talent. India does a wonderful job with Bumrah. I am happy to see a series go by where Shaheen or Jofra or Jasprit doesn’t play in it. I am happy because I am thinking long term,” Bishop told Indian Journalist Subash Jayaraman’s podcast CouchTalk.
For a man of his stature and reputation, Bishop is a huge fan of his compatriots Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh and holds Malcom Marshall to the title of the most complete bowler the sport has ever seen. Although he does not think anyone else has approached Marshall’s levels, looking at the fast bowlers coming through, Bishop hopes that the likes of Chemar Holder and Alzarri Joseph can take up the mantle of fast bowling in the West Indian team.
“I don’t think that anybody does (come close to Marshall). It’s not that I rever or worship Malcolm. Malcolm had a big impression on me. I thought Kemar (Roach) would have been the next guy to get 300 Test wickets and more for the West Indies but he has had his injuries and such. Coming through the system now, you’ve got a guy called Chemar Holder who is a very impressive young kid. I’d love to see him take over the mantle when the incumbents start to go towards the twilight of their careers,” Bishop said.
Over the years since he called time on his illustrious career – a total of 279 wickets in 127 international matches – Bishop has been witness to some exceptional spells of bowling from the commentary box.
“I recall Shoaib Akhtar taking seven for whatever, 12 I think against New Zealand in Pakistan. It was fascinating from the point of view that Shoaib took the pitch almost totally out of the equation. Shannon Gabriel’s haul against Sri Lanka here [in Jamaica] a couple of years ago where he took 13 or 14 wickets or something like that. I thought it was outstanding because the pitch itself was fascinating. (Also) any spell from Curtly Ambrose, watching it as a player, standing at fine leg,” Bishop added.