PLAYERS ARE the end product of a cricket organisation, be it club or country, and their performances on the field of play, whether good, indifferent or bad, is very much representative of the strength, mediocrity, or weakness of that organisation. Therefore, all judgement is cast on the players, as they are the visible ones in that arrangement.
However, there are many facets of such an establishment. There’s the administration that creates the rules under which the governance of the system shall prevail. Hence, we have in Cricket West Indies (CWI), the guidance of West Indies cricket in order for their cricketers to be serious competitors on the world stage.
To do that, the current administration must have some idea on what is required and if they themselves are lacking in such knowledge, they ensure that they surround themselves with those who have that understanding. Or put another way, to attract those with at least a modicum of cricket intelligence.
It gives me no pleasure to write that in the light of WI’s bad and inconsistent performances in the past six months, CWI must review their administration standards in order to decide if their policies are substantial towards improvement and steady development for better cricket.
This body of people running West Indies cricket must be able to recognise the fact that our cricketers are not benefitting in any territorial programmes to improve them.
Sir Andy Roberts says that the hierarchy is blaming the coaches and that is just an excuse for their failure. Although I agree with him to a certain extent, coaches cannot get away from being criticised. He says, “Players shouldering the responsibility to develop their game to the point that all the coach has to do is to make sure they go through their drills.”
A coach has more of a role than that simple job of ensuring the players go through their drills. The coach has to ensure that the player is motivated and that is done by developing his enthusiasm, plus, employing the right attitude, by making practice sessions interesting with a goal in mind.
The coach has to build up the mentality of the player to ensure he’s practising properly, and simulating match conditions. He must never believe that it is just a drill. There’s a purpose behind practice, the sooner he realises that, the better cricketer will emerge.
Batsmen are not showing the skill required at the highest level because of a lack of concentration. Those whose coaches do not push to bat long hours in the nets, building concentration and mental fitness, suffer come matchday. Consequently, when that batsman fails, do not say it’s his fault and the coach is only responsible for the drills. It is the coach’s negligence for not ensuring that his charges are at the top of their game because they weren’t pushed to do the right thing when practising.
The other problems are a lack of cricket in the region. Although there was an unprecedented pandemic worldwide in the past couple of years, there was still quite a lot of cricket played given the circumstances. And we have to get back at it immediately. Cricket improvement comes with the more cricket one plays.
What is CWI’s director of cricket, Jimmy Adams, planning for the development of young cricketers in the region? There’s a wall of silence from his desk as to future plans. Now and again one hears from Adams though it never seems to make sense.
The development of cricket in the region must take place in every island with established programmes at schools, both secondary and primary, littered with qualified coaches, because cricketers have to be captured from young by the beauty and fun of the game by playing and enjoying it.
The only way they would do this is by being introduced at a young age in the enjoyment of the sport. Then they grow into it, learning the art through the various skills they develop. The younger they learn the sooner they develop, the better they become.
Obviously, starting with the basic gifts of coordination, plus the necessary flexibility required for the sport, are an advantage.
Therefore, it’s wrong to blame players or coaches only, though they have to answer for their performances. Nevertheless, the administration has the biggest share of the blame to take, as they make the all-important decisions of hiring and firing coaches and selectors, to shape a smooth successful organisation of which the players are the finished product.