Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Gifford: “long Trip” For Spinners Before They Fully Blossom

Gifford: “long Trip” For Spinners Before They Fully Blossom

Norman Gifford is relishing working with Worcestershire's promising crop of young spinners but says it is "a long trip" for slow bowlers before they fully blossom – as he is aware from his own distinguished career. 

The Worcestershire legend, who picked up 2,068 first class wickets, is passing on his knowledge to the likes of 18-year-old Ben Twohig, Brett D'Oliveira and the 12-14 age group in the nets at Malvern College this winter in his role as the County's spin bowling coach.

Gifford – the County's new president – admits it took him until he was in the 26-28 age bracket "before I knew what I was capable of" after joining the Worcestershire staff as an 18-year-old.

He recognises the "instant world" everyone now lives in and youngsters wanting to emulate Shane Warne and Ravichandran Ashwin.

But he stresses the importance of "getting the basics right first" before such heady heights can be contemplated.

Gifford said: "I love the work I do, Monday and Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings at Malvern College.

"We've got some 12, 13, 14-year-old leggies, off spinners, some really good kids coming along.

"Ben Twohig is doing fine. He is working hard. He is a good lad and a bubbly sort of character but it is a long process. Most of the spinners, and I was one of them….and I look back and I knew what I was capable of probably when I was 26-27-28.

"We are in an 'instant world.' When I started I was not able to watch TV and see the likes of Shane Warne bowling this ball or that ball.

"All you had a picture of is what you were and we never saw what these boys see now.

"Of course, they see Warne bowling and Ashwin bowling and they want to bowl this type of ball, that type of ball, but you've got to get the basics right first.

"It's getting them to realise that what they are on is quite a long trip. There is an end to it but you've got to put in the work."

Gifford is excited with the quality of the young group of spinners who are benfitting from his massive know-how and experience.

He said: "There are some good boys, these 12-13-14-year-olds. I wouldn't swap them. We've got this group of six or seven talented boys and I wouldn't swap them for anyone around the country.

"It is exciting and you think 'I hope I'm around in five, six, seven years time' to see where they finish up."