NICHOLAS POORAN, West Indies cricket’s white-ball captain, should understand by now that being an international captain is not the same as playing franchise club cricket.
It is frustrating to listen to his utterances after losing a game.
To give an example: in the third T20 game played in St Kitts, WI lost to India by seven wickets. Pooran said after the game: “I felt like we had to get early wickets and we didn’t get early wickets. I felt like we should have dragged it back early in the power-play but unfortunately, we couldn’t get that wicket.
“At the (halfway stage of the game) we felt that we had enough. India bowled well…they used the pitch really good. The wicket was a bit on the slower side and we felt it would be difficult to keep scoring on it.
"Again, if we had gotten early wickets it would have been a different game.”
Cricket is not a wishing game! Pooran’s feelings that if they get an early wicket, or drag it back early in the power-play, is wishing on a star – that’s not cricket. When he talks about getting early wickets, it would have been a different game – of course! Both teams are striving to win and have to create their own advantages.
"Unfortunately, we couldn’t get that wicket" – that’s what has to be addressed,
Why couldn’t you get that wicket? Not "Unfortunately..." That’s like saying, "Um, you know, if we score more runs than they do, we’ll win."
International cricket is a tough contest between two teams, both trying to get the upper hand by using strategy and tactics to be carried out by batsmen, bowlers and fieldsmen, generated by the wisdom of the team’s captain, who should motivate and inspire his team to carry out their functions to the best of their ability.
Certainly not by guessing, not hoping and wishing that things go their way, but by making it happen through cricket intelligence – which is promoted by spending long hours in the nets, practising the art forms, until satisfied that batting technique is sound, bowlers can place the ball repeatedly in the same area they choose, plus, fieldsmen can sense the ball’s direction early enough to move into position to take a catch or instigate a run-out, thus sharpening their reflexes for the milliseconds needed to do these things.
That ought to be the outlook of the cricketer, and no one has to tell him to do it, but he should do so of his own accord.
However, having coaches who are aware of the advantage gained by this approach would be to the benefit of the player, and hence to his team.
It is noteworthy that the coaching structure of the WI white-ball team continues unchanged despite many series losses. And to think there’s a T20 World Cup in late 2022 and ODI World Cup in early 2023!
Yet Cricket West Indies seem satisfied with their teams’ coaches and preparation.
A cricket side (and I suppose most other sporting teams) has a coaching and management structure to ensure that goals, of good performances and winning matches, are realised.
Therefore, I have to ask, if the team is continually losing, on bad and good wickets, then aren’t those coaching the team accountable?
The players are those on the field representing their country and many people say that they are the ones to take the blame. Nevertheless, there’s a huge support staff that is supposed to be feeding these players with the will to win, by infusing their thought processes with enthusiasm and confidence, so that the players can’t wait to get out on the field and confront "the enemy." The captain on the field thus leads his troops.
If that’s not operating the way it should, then changes have to be made. The axe has to fall on the failures.
It seems that the cricket administration of the WI has been giving in to whatever the team management instructs them is wise. They must understand that no success means staff changes.
Currently, it’s my guess that there’s a buddy system in existence with the white-ball sides. It becomes apparent especially when one hears statements about "building a team", "togetherness", "creating a family."
I stress, this is international cricket!
I don’t hear this nonsense from Kraigg Brathwaite, the Test captain. And they seem to be doing very well in tougher and more demanding cricket.