Preparation, practice and purpose

Daren Sammy. - CWI Media
Daren Sammy. - CWI Media

I couldn’t agree with West Indies’ cricket coach Daren Sammy more, when he announced that preparation is the key to good performance in the upcoming T20 World Cup, starting in Dallas, Texas, on June 1, merely ten days away. The first game is between the USA and Canada; that, in itself is quite fascinating, simply because the first official international cricket game was played between these two nations in 1844.

The first West Indies game is against Papua New Guinea in Guyana on June 2. Preparation is a suitable term to use, however, it can be positive or negative, depending on what approach is taken. It’s like saying that the side is well prepared or badly prepared. He used practice and purpose to go along with preparation and expected a strong performance as the finished product.

He didn’t give an insight into what exactly entailed good preparation or even a clue into what is required to ensure that his cricketers will all be ready in order to provide sound batsmanship, steady, accurate bowling, supported by sharp, quick fielding, accompanied by safe wicket keeping.

A fitness practice camp started on May 12 in Antigua, yet, it is not known what form it is taking or has taken to ensure maximum fitness, plus response time to circumstances, to gain an advantage in given situations when presented.

Sammy also talked about practice separately, while I would have thought that practice is the main part of being prepared. The players have to practise on a daily basis to achieve maximum potential.


The coach has to closely supervise the sessions because some cricketers could make fun of it and not be as serious as the situation demands.

The coach has to control the jokes, merriment, and mirth that could surround players in this atmosphere. This happens when certain players believe that when the coach says have fun and enjoy the practice, that it is tantamount to being carefree and jolly. I’ve heard a player say once to a coach (not Sammy), “I’m really enjoying myself and having fun.” I know this because I’ve witnessed it in the middle of a practice session.

The practice should be approached in a serious manner and in that mindset one will find satisfaction in whatever skill one is practising. That’s the main reason why coaches ought to be part and parcel of the actual supervision of the coaching as any experienced coach would acknowledge.

There are those who are playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and are coming off a busy season and the coach has to be wary of their mental state more than anyone else. This is because there’s a huge difference between franchise cricket and the international game. Pleasing the crowd is the aim of the franchise sponsors and winning is the name of the international game.

One has to ensure that they are not fatigued but are ready, willing and able to perform for their country. That is another important job of the coach to ensure that when they get on that field to represent the West Indies they are not worn out, but fresh and ready to go.

Thus, Sammy spoke about preparation, which is not clear, practice, which is, and purpose.

That last but not least, is the most vital. It involves the mentality of the player, for no matter how much natural ability he possesses, his mental strength is the engine room that will be driving the winning attitude, that’s going to make the right decisions at the right time.

There must always be the self-belief that he is going to cause his side to win the contest, whether one is playing against Papua New Guinea or Australia, the thoughts emanating from a player’s mentality must always be the same and that is, the knowledge that one’s side will win.

As head coach, Sammy has the experience of winning and losing internationally.

He knows how to employ winning strategies and would realise that being on the field as captain and dictating the game, is not the same as coaching. There’s more than one way to win and different captains would have their own tactical acumen and should be left alone. Rovman Powell has been a successful captain as he travelled on although he has never led a World Cup squad. Nonetheless, he has won many games in the leadership role and he embodies a certain charisma which his players feel comfortable with and this is critical.


"Preparation, practice and purpose"

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