Nothing improves without practice

Central Sports celebrate retaining the TKR/TTCB T20 Festival crown after winning the final on May 4 at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain. - DANIEL PRENTICE
Central Sports celebrate retaining the TKR/TTCB T20 Festival crown after winning the final on May 4 at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain. - DANIEL PRENTICE

THE recent T20 cricket competition played at the Queen’s Park Oval was entertaining and attained a high standard at times, although it fell below par on other occasions. However, what was obvious was the players trying their best to give high-quality performances in all situations.

Much more competitive cricket in all formats is needed for particular reasons. For instance: the youngsters will have regular opportunities to play and assess their seniors; senior cricketers will learn how to read their younger colleagues in order to teach important lessons in playing the game, in this case the T20 format. Youth players will have a tremendous incentive to ask questions.

The pitches were perfect for batsmen which strengthens the resolve of the player as he takes his stance and feels sure of himself. His confidence level soars knowing he could play his strokes with an air of assurance. The boundaries are also shorter than for the longer cricket games which makes the scoring of runs and the making of centuries less difficult. The quickness of the outfield was also quite noticeable and might be because of the very dry season, plus the extremely hot weather conditions.

The improvement of the individual players would be significant by participating in more of this format where coaches can witness their players in action and pick up many lessons to impart to their charges. As long as they know that a good cricketer is always willing to learn and understand that he could never absorb knowledge completely as he travels on.

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I looked at these players involved on the Oval ground and realised, because it was so noticeable, how much cricket these players have to learn, yet it should not be difficult as they are naturally blessed with incredible ability that any coach would be happy to assist in their development. However, their greenness was visible in this tournament and the main element lacking for their development, is to play more cricket in this type of competition. Games they will have to train hard for, by ensuring lots of practice to be done by coaches who shouldn’t accept excuses of tiredness while bowling, batting and fielding or not turning up for practice, or being late for sessions. The basic ability is present but that alone does not make a cricketer.

A fielder has to learn to be sharp in the field and can only conquer that by practise. Notwithstanding that, he has to practise his fielding every day, to always be ready for any time a catch or a grounder comes his way. Throwing is a neglected art, nonetheless, a run out artist in the field causes indecision in batsmen at the wicket. This could create a loss of a wicket at an opportune time for the fielding team.

Nothing improves without practice. And the more it’s done the better. The bowler has it tough. He has to bowl on superb batting wickets. He only has four overs to ensure batsmen are tied down, and although there are strategies that can be employed, it is difficult when the rules state the number of fielders that you can place in particular positions of the field.

The historic Oval ground maintained a superb atmosphere though the crowds were miniscule. All that is needed now is more competitions of this kind every year and not just on a one-off basis.

The Central Sports team played some fine cricket and they always seemed aware of their plan and what was needed to carry it out. Together with Powergen-Penal and Queen’s Park Cricket Club, it made for a highly competitive tournament. At no time one could detect a clear-cut winner which suggested well-balanced teams.

The adjustment was a fine lesson for young cricketers, but there were too many bad habits that, when employed, made the appearance of the games a disrespect to the best traditions of the sport. For instance, batsmen standing their ground when given out and some senior players openly castigating cricketers on their team for errors. This was wrong!

Nevertheless, the approach of most of the cricketers were confident, determined and positive in their efforts, which is a bright sign for the future. However, I beg the authorities to do whatever is necessary to expand these tournaments. The nighttime has proven to be the best time and certainly, the crowds would improve. The thousand or two that were there were well entertained and after this exploratory year the popularity would improve. The cricketers need more cricket.

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