Cayman boosted by Bishop’s wisdom

Cayman Islands’ hopes of winning the Stanford 20/20 tournament have increased after coaching from former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop.

The 40-year-old Trinidadian was in George Town this week dispensing tips to Cayman’s expectant cricketers who take on St Lucia in Antigua on 26 January in the tournament’s opener. If they win then it’s the formidable Trinis on 2 February. Trinidad and Tobago were runners up to Guyana in the first Stanford 20/20 tournament. Cayman is one of the smaller territories but significantly, in the inaugural Stanford tournament, held in August 2006, St Kitts and Nevis (population 50,000) and Grenada (115,000) reached the semis.

At least Cayman will have no sponsorship worries. Cayman Islands Cricket Association technical director Theo Cuffy said: ‘We’re proud to announce that a new sponsor, Clico Cayman Ltd, has joined our organization. Our local and international 20/20 tournaments will be called Clico Cayman 20/20 International and Clico Cayman 20/20 from now on.

‘We wish to congratulate Clico Cayman Ltd through Cayman branch manager Vera Kissoon for assisting in the development of cricket in the Cayman Islands.’

Bishop feels Cayman’s high standards will ensure they do well. He said: ‘Against St Lucia it’s a hard game to predict but if Cayman execute their skills as well as they’re capable of then they can win. They beat St Lucia in the Stanford preparatory game last time so all things are possible in cricket. St Lucia will be out for revenge and they have a right to say that because their cricket legacy is a little richer than Cayman’s. But in a 20/20 game it’s unpredictable.

‘Bangladesh have beaten a number of top teams and Zimbabwe beat Australia in the 20/20 World Cup so it’s not about thinking too much about the opposition, it’s about assessing their strengths and weaknesses and also yours. But when it comes to getting into the game you think about the process of what you can do as a team and then the end result will take care of itself.’

Bishop chuckled when asked about Cayman’s chances against his homeland but he answered diplomatically. ‘No it’s not a joke. They will have to cross that bridge, obviously, when they come to it. But the key thing for them now is to understand what their individual strength is. What is your game as a bowler? Can I reproduce my action time and again? And you try to get that to an optimum level. Cayman had a nice game last time and should try to get better with each outing and you never know what could happen in a 20/20 game.’

Bishop has noted a lot of young talent in Cayman as well as solid, experienced players but he did not spot anyone with Test potential. ‘There are some enthusiastic young players but I don’t want to single out anybody for praise. There are a couple of good, young batsmen and a couple of nice seam bowlers, but playing for the West Indies, that is such a long way off. What they really need to concentrate on is to play to the best of their ability, understanding, technique, as a batsman or a bowler and refining that.’

Veteran Cayman fast bowler Kenute ‘Gary’ Tulloch hopes to reproduce the form he showed in Stanford the first time.

‘It’s always good to learn and add to your experience. Ian Bishop has reinforced what I really know about bowling a good line and how to get the ball in and out. He is always telling you things about mixing it up, a slower ball and varying your bowling. I will go back to Stanford with a certain amount of experience. My team-mates will be looking up to me because I got five wickets against St Lucia so everybody’s looking for that again.’