West Indies must ‘get back to the basics’: Spin legend Lance Gibbs

West Indies must ‘get back to the basics’ in order to climb Test rankings, says spin legend Lance Gibbs, however he is pleased with the leadership of captain Jason Holder

  • West Indies spin legend Lance Gibbs said he had feared for West Indies’ future
  • He says they must ‘get back to the basics’ in order to climb back up the rankings
  • However, he says that things are getting better under Jason Holder’s leadership

West Indies spin legend Lance Gibbs feared that cricket in the Caribbean was in terminal decline before the resurgence of West Indies in the Wisden Trophy.

Gibbs, the leading wicket-taker in Tests for almost six years after his retirement, lives in Florida these days but has been in St Lucia to witness some of the skills he feared his successors had consigned to history.

‘All cricketing nations have ups and downs. The fellas are not as keen as they should be. In style most of them have gone for Twenty20, which is like a slog you know?We’ve got to hope we get back to the basics that are necessary as far as the game of cricket is concerned,’ Gibbs, 84, said.

Lance Gibbs is pleased with the leadership of current West Indies captain Jason Holder

Lance Gibbs is pleased with the leadership of current West Indies captain Jason Holder

Lance Gibbs playing in his prime at slip as England's Geoffrey Boycott sweeps to leg

Lance Gibbs playing in his prime at slip as England’s Geoffrey Boycott sweeps to leg

‘Now they’re batting much better, fielding much better and Jason Holder seems to be an extremely good leader. Therefore things are improving.’

In contrast to the heyday team captained by his cousin Clive Lloyd that beat all-comers, West Indies have languished in the lower reaches of the Test rankings for the past two decades.

Taking his place in their record-breaking achievements of the past was off-spinner Gibbs, 84, who between January 31, 1976, and December 27, 1981, sat atop the list of the most prolific bowlers the game had seen.

Gibbs says the world's top wicket takers played against teams that didn't deserve Test level

Gibbs says the world’s top wicket takers played against teams that didn’t deserve Test level

Gibbs surpassed Fred Trueman’s tally of 307 before his own mark of 309 was overtaken by Australian Dennis Lillee. So could he ever have envisaged an individual reaching the 700-mark of Shane Warne or the 800 Muttiah Muralitharan managed?

Breaking into a gentle smile, he says: ‘It depends who you’re playing against. I never played against South Africa, I never played against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh – come on, I’d have murdered them man, honestly! There are more countries that are playing now that have been given Test level and some of them shouldn’t have it.’

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