Bishoo is 45th Guyana player to play Test cricket
Says variety is the key at International level
By Sean Devers
At age 25, Devendra Bishoo yesterday became the 45th Guyana cricketer to play Test cricket and first since Travis Dowlin played against Bangladesh last year when he made his debut against Pakistan at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence.
A belated call-up for the World Cup to replace injured Dwayne Bravo after Marlon Samuels declined the offer saw Bishoo, who hails from an area called Doctor’s Bush in Albion, Berbice make an auspicious start to his International career with 3-34 from 10 overs against England.
Eleven more wickets in the five-match ODI home series against Pakistan showed his World Cup showing was no fluke and after eight ODIs the leg-spinner has 15 wickets at an average of 19.66.
Bishoo, who made his first class debut with at five-wicket haul against CCC at Providence three years ago, was the Man-of-the-Series in the 2010 Regional T20 tournament to help Guyana qualify last year’s Champion’s League in South Africa.
In front of a capacity crowd of over 30,000 in Durban, Bishoo, whose father died when he was just eight years old, bowled impressively and had Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar stumped when Guyana played Mumbai Indians.
In his debut T20 International debut against Pakistan last month in St Lucia he took 4-17 from four overs to help the West Indies to a rare series victory.
Bishoo, who has 86 wickets from 21 First-Class games since he took over the reigns of Guyana’s leg-spinner from fellow Berbician Mahendra Nagamootoo, began playing at the under-15 level for Albion when he was just 11 years old and was not even born when Pakistan played the historic first ever ODI in the West Indies on his home ground in Corentyne in 1977.
A consistent if not dominant performer at the Regional under-19 level in 2003 and 2004 led to senior Inter-County selection and a string out outstanding performances for Albion in Berbice’s first division cricket as he partnered with left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, who was still in the under-19 ranks saw his rise.
It was Permaul (four years his junior) who was the first of the two to play First-Class cricket, but once the Guyana selectors looked past Nagamootoo a year after Permaul made his debut in 2007, it has been Bishoo and Permaul, who is now at the HPC in Barbados, operating in tandem for Guyana since.
Bishoo is the 15th Berbician since John Trim became the first in 1948 when he played against England at Bourda to represent the Windies.
Although Albion is one of
the top clubs in Berbice, it was not until 1978 when Sew Shivnarine played against Australia that the club had its first Test player.
Although Sudesh Dhaniram came close, Albion had to wait another 27 years for its second Test player when Narsingh Deonarine played against South Africa and another three years for its next Test player when Sewnarine Chattergoon played his first Test against Sri Lanka in Trinidad.
Now that Bishoo is there the club will be hoping that Permaul could soon join the list of Test players from Albion and with Sulieman Benn again finding himself in problems for off-the field indiscretions and Permaul steadily improving, the wait might not be too long.
“I am really excited about playing for the West Indies in my own country for the first time. For me, personally, it will be a good way to end the ODI series,” Bishoo had said last week. “There’s no place like home and my mother will be there. This will be her first time seeing me play for the West Indies. I know she is proud of me and it was really special for her to see me play at home.” Bishoo had said.
An only child, Bishoo is very close to his mother and not only her but maybe the entire Albion membership (including former Guyana under-15 Manager Veemen Walter, who has been close to Bishoo’s career from the time it began) will be at Providence for this Test.
A level-headed tail ender Bishoo showed good technique during his work as Guyana’s night watchman and was good enough to score a century for Diamond Club in Trinidad’s club cricket a few seasons ago.
What has impressed many is Bishoo’s maturity and calmness at the International level and although he gained International recognition from playing limited overs cricket, he is one of the few attacking spinners in regional cricket.
“In the nets I always practice to spin the ball and flight it….even when preparing for T20 matches since I think it is easier to bowl flatter and quicker than to flight and spin. I always look to take wickets even in one-day cricket,” Bishoo said.
He also explained that he has found that the key to success at the International level is being consistent and ‘mixing-up’ your pace.
Bishoo has not bowled many googlies since his introduction to International cricket but explained that in limited overs cricket he tries to prevent the batsmen playing with the turn and bowls mostly leg-breaks and flippers to the right-handers and more googlies to the left-handers. In the matches he has played so far most of his opponents have been right-handers.
Bishoo loves to train and despite his size is among the fittest players in West Indies cricket. That could be an important asset for the Guyanese who could be asked to do the bulk of the bowling in this Test series and the one against India in a team seemingly short of a fifth specialist bowler.