Ian Bishop revisits ‘Remember the name’ moment and much more

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Ian Bishop revisits ‘Remember the name’ moment and much more

Ian Bishop is one of the most lethal and respected voices in the cricket fraternity behind the mic. When he talks, viewers listen. Everyone gives their ear for his words of wisdom and Bishop’s authoritative voice adds icing on the cake.

He can add magic while defining any extraordinary moment on the cricketing field just by his commentary.

“Carlos Braithwaite, Carlos Braithwaite. Remember the name,” once said Bishop, during one of the most epic comebacks in cricket and an ICC tournament final worthy moment, while defining Carlos Braithwaite’s unimaginable performance in the T20 World Cup 2016 final against England.

“The players on the field make these moments,” says Ian Bishop talking about that iconic moment to Betway.

On that fateful night at Eden Gardens, West Indies needed 19 runs in six balls. Carlos Braithwaite didn’t show any signs of nerve and whacked Ben Stokes for four sixes in a row to clinch the T20 World Cup for West Indies.

Bishop mentioned the inspiration for that moment came just days before that final in Kolkata.

“I went to a function hosted by a friend of mine two days before the final,” says Bishop, who played 43 Test matches and 84 ODIs for West Indies between 1988-98 before becoming a popular broadcaster.

“And one of the questions posed was which players we should look forward to watching in the final, beyond the obvious guys like Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo.

“Carlos Brathwaite came to my mind because in that World Cup he’d been bowling well and he could smack the ball. I said to the guy: ‘Carlos Brathwaite is a good all-round cricketer, remember that name.’

“When he hit the final six, the first thing that regurgitated was what I’d said to that gentleman.

“I wasn’t the lead commentator at the time, it was David [‘Bumble’] Lloyd. I was just waiting to see how the action played out and then David tapped me on the shoulder and said: ‘Please, you go ahead’.”

Bishop, with no sugar-coating, can be put among the best voices to narrating cricket. But he isn’t a big fan of this talk.

“It’s actually embarrassing to talk about it. I’ve got a bit more relaxed about it now, but for two or three years after that I ducked questions on it because it just sounded like nothing to me. Honestly, no line is really great unless the action on the field justifies it,” he said.

T20 cricket has revolutionised cricket around the world since its introduction. It has paved a way for cricket to reach far lands, that are alien to Test and ODI cricket. Also, this format allows several cricketers, to spread their wings for take-off, and commentators to learn a trick or two.

Bishop, however, ended his career before this format’s introduction.

“Virat Kohli said recently that if you aim for Test-match cricket and play Test-match cricket, you should be able to cross over into other formats of the game,” he said.

“He was talking about one or two of his bowlers, but I actually think that the same applies to broadcasting. If you understand the fundamentals, it gives you a foundation. I love the game. I’m very open to research and talking to guys who played T20, and I think I’ve learned a lot about it by covering it so often.

“As a player, I always wanted to do better. My wife used to give me a hard time when I got a five-fer, for example, because, instead of celebrating it, I would be thinking about how I can get the next one. It’s ingrained in me.”

Bishop wasn’t sure what to make out this format when it was introduced. But he has come a long way since then and rubbishes the claims of T20 being less pure than any other format.

“It was initially entertainment, but then it grew into a very serious format of cricket. You get more tactical nuances because one ball can be the difference in a game,” Bishop admitted.

The former West Indian fast bowler called his cricketing career off just a few years before the T20 era began. And he missed all those big bags full of money that comes with the T20 cricket.

“I always accepted that I was paid more during my time than the generation before me. I don’t think I’ve ever said, even privately, that this guy or that guy doesn’t deserve what they’re being paid,” stressed Bishop.

“The market determines your earning power. I am happy to see guys and girls secure their financial future, because it’s happened too often that players who helped put their country on the map need assistance once they’ve retired.

“Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle. These are great T20 cricketers and that makes them great cricketers in their own right. There’s room for everyone.”

Bishop rightly pointed out Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard as the greats of T20 cricket. To be honest, West Indies have a neck of producing cricketers who are best suited in T20 cricket and the above-mentioned trio’s longevity has put them above the rest of the world with some jaw-dropping numbers doing the backing.

T20 cricket breathes easy when in the Caribbean countries and winning two T20 World Cups has been a stamp of authority.

“It’s the perfect storm. What has always summed up West Indies players? Athleticism, power, panache, flair, power-hitting, mystery spin. Think Sonny Ramhadin, Alf Valentine, Garfield Sobers, Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards. These guys possessed those traits,” he mentioned.

“We now have a format that suits those skills to a greater degree than ever. It is natural to West Indies cricketers. But these guys have thought about the game, too. Pollard, Bravo and others are very smart. It’s a marriage of all of those things.”

The ongoing T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE may well be the last dance for the trio. And their mere presence is enough for other teams to fear a Caribbean cyclone in the tournament.

“We have to be realistic, there are lots of contenders. England have got guys who are aggressive with the bat. India have stars throughout their line-up. New Zealand are beginning to hit more boundaries and have a dangerous bowling attack. Pakistan are dangerous with the ball. But the West Indies have so much experience now, so I have my fingers crossed that they can go well,” he added.

If West Indies play to their potential and manage to secure a top-two finish in the group of death, Ian Bishop will fancy his team’s chances to go all the way through. And he will, again, prepare the lines for the trophy-lifting moment in advance.

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