Needed: West Indies winning attitude



I HONESTLY cannot say I’m not worried about West Indies cricket. We have not beaten Pakistan in a limited-overs series since November 1991 (the WI won the three-match series 2-0 in Pakistan).

What is shocking is the reaction of the captain to losing. They have become so accustomed now to losing that, to the team, it’s just another day at the office.

This attitude may suffice in franchise cricket entertainment like the Indian Premier League (IPL) or the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) or in the surfeit of T20 franchise leagues throughout the world. And the monetary rewards are fine. However, playing international cricket, where one is representing one’s country or nation and whereas in the WI, a group of nations, that’s a different story!

I witnessed a video clip with West Indian players enjoying themselves, having fun, giving jokes to one another, with plenty of laughter and joy and the skipper Nicholas Pooran on centre stage, boasting about his bowling spell and the coach Phil Simmons in the background, displaying wide grins of mirth.

All of this after surrendering to Pakistan in the third One Day International for a comprehensive series beating. Where can one find the feeling to ‘celebrate’ after being annihilated on the cricket field by a three-nil margin? It was a time for reflection in a sober and analytical way.

Certainly, after being devoured, one should not be in any mood for merriment and good cheer, if the games really mattered. There is a time for merry-making, when deserved. In this instance, one ought to be feeling a sense of emptiness, initiating a discussion of what went wrong.

Then, in a newspaper interview, I had to read of WI skipper prattling on about various trivialities, nothing analytical, not once mentioning spending many more hours in the nets to develop his batsmen’s concentration, which particular duty builds confidence, improves skill and inculcates a winning attitude.

An example of one of the captain’s statements: “The positive is definitely the character shown by the players especially coming out here in 45-degrees temperature, and a lot of the guys got sick as well but we kept fighting, and we said from the beginning we’re going to stick together no matter what happened.”

West Indies’ Nicholas Pooran, center, celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Mohammad Rizwan during the third and final One-Day International between Pakistan and West Indies at the Multan Cricket Stadium, in Multan, Pakistan, on June 12. (AP PHOTO) -

Well, they have certainly stuck together, in defeat, judging from their dressing-room frivolity after the third successive whipping. He also noted that Pakistan were once inconsistent like the WI and have improved over time and are a lot more consistent now as a team. So? What does that have to do with WI cricket? Forget other teams, perfect your own.

The ebb and flow of the performance of WI teams is gradually diminishing its popular support. Although they seem to be up one day and down the next, the improvement of various players is not consistent. Poor selection policies had its part to play, though I believe there would be a more consistent policy overall, now that Desmond Haynes is in charge.

The bowlers have the ability to be world class, once they are well looked after, by the selectors showing confidence in them, a captain who knows how to use them wisely and a coach that understands a bowler’s needs. A coach must always impress on his players the importance of winning. He must develop in them a winning attitude. They must appreciate that losing is not an option!

Pooran again: “A lot of people will be upset that we lost. A lot of people will bash us for losing, but to me I felt we got really close as a team. It was my second tour as captain and I felt like we are actually building a family here.”

Being victorious is the key. The reason to play the game is to win. Yesterday is gone and no one knows what tomorrow holds. Therefore, practise today to win tomorrow. There are games to be played, games that the team has to win. It’s surprising to find out that Pooran is trying to build a family. When one is chosen to represent one’s country, the family is established and the job is completed by winning. Team spirit is the answer.

Personally, I love to win. In my playing days, I like to believe I added something to the teams I represented, because they always won competitions. From Queen’s Park Cricket Club to Trinidad and Tobago, WI, Swansea Cricket Club and Glamorgan County Cricket Club. Forget all the talk; there’s one way to win and that’s by constant practice! It builds cricket intelligence and a winning attitude!


"Needed: West Indies winning attitude"

More in this section