West Indies off-spin bowling legend, Lance Gibbs, stopped by DreamCricket Academy on Saturday April 24th.
His visit was organized by DreamCricket Academy Coaches Earl Daley and Malika Frank Daley and coincided with the first phase of DreamCricket Academy’s selection trials for the U-13 team. The boys were keen to impress the great off-spinner who averaged a miserly 1.99 runs per over during his entire Test career and had 18 five-wicket hauls in his 79 test career!
The 75 year old and extremely fit Mr. Gibbs, who was known as the “electrified tarantula” during his time on the circuit, bowled a bit in the nets - managing to turn the ball as if by remote control!
Back in the day, the man was simply unplayable! Ask the Indians - he once bowled a 15.3 over spell against India in which 14 were maidens and he took 8 wickets for 6 runs!
Pic (Right): Mr. Gibbs poses for a photo with the boys of DreamCricket Academy
“Conserve your energy,” he urged the youngsters when he saw an erratic delivery. Every ball they bowl poorly not only resulted in extra runs, it was energy expended needlessly in the run-up and on the field, energy that the bowler might need at later stages.
Watching a lankier and younger version of himself bowl on screen as footage from ‘Cricket - The 60’s’ DVD played on the DreamCricket's plasma screen, he joked, “That's out! What's that umpire doing? Is he appealing?”
"There is no substitute for hard work and patience," Mr. Gibbs said. He said that he always was the first to show up for practice and last to leave. A discipline that his younger cousin Clive Lloyd remembered in a recent speech. “I used to sit atop a tree as I watched my cousin Lance play his cricket and think - I want to play for Guyana one day,” the Big Cat told the ICC Centenary History conference.
His message to the bowlers was that even if you are not a batsman, you have to put a premium on the wicket. Mr. Gibbs reminded the boys that no matter what position they played, they would find themselves in situations where the match hinged on their performance with the bat.
At the end of the two hour session, Mr. Gibbs left the boys with great memories after signing autographs and posing for pictures. "It is our great pleasure to have a legend of our times and the first spin bowler to have crossed 300 test wickets in our midst," Ms. Kranthi Bayya, CEO of DreamCricket.com said in a brief thank you speech. "The Academy's cricketers are blessed to have some of the greatest cricketers of our times visit and spend time with them - we have had Chetan Chauhan, Sunil Gavaskar, Ballu Sandhu and now Mr. Gibbs."
Saturday was a double bonanza for students of DreamCricket Academy because two other guests visited the Academy on the day. Suresh Menon and Siddhartha Vaidyanathan, both well known cricket writers and columnists, also stopped by to watch the selection process. Siddhartha Vaidyanathan remembered that Mr. Gibbs had the most "massive palms" and blisters from years of spin bowling, something he wrote about in an article for CricInfo in 2006.