Full Disclosure
June 29, 2007
Windies in real shambles?

We need to establish clearly in our minds that West Indies cricket has reached an all time low. The players portray an attitude which depicts a poverty of performance which is contrary to the level of skill and expertise necessary to be successful in an increasingly competitive game.

The coach is yet to deliver and as spectators we are yet to isolate the value of the coach’s contribution in order to determine the extent to which proper coaching or the lack thereof is impacting on the quality of our game.{{more}} The selectors and the West Indies Cricket management have been so heavily criticized in recent times that they too have lost a great degree of admiration, hence the caption, “Windies in real shambles”.

“From Brian Lara to Chris Gayle: Understanding captaincy” appears to be a good title for a text, which will make it to the top of the charts for the hopeful cricket fans that remain. In quick succession we witnessed both the faces and backs of Sarwan, Ganga and the latest is that Gayle’s position appears to be in jeopardy for his recent comments. I questioned one of my cricket friends as to his take on what most people consider to be more than a brewing fiasco in West Indies cricket, his reply was “All great teams go through periods of slump”. A parallel was then drawn between West Indies’ cricket and Brazil’s soccer, which I quickly sought to dispel, for although Brazil may not have been able to capture the world cup title there was nothing to show a deficiency in the zeal to win. This is very much unlike the absence of resilience presently portrayed by our players.

It would have been interesting to see Sarwan at least for a settled period of time as captain, however absence due to injury is an inevitable aspect of the game. Therefore, many circles would agree that what we have now is a weakened West Indies Team which was already in dire need of life support. One lesson to be learnt from the entire situation is that cricket is definitely permanently ingrained in our culture, for despite the poor biddings of our team we will forever love our players no matter how much criticism that we level against them. So probably we need to do a bit more than sitting at home and criticizing because it is simply not working for the West Indies Team. What about the people of the region who are still interested in the game petitioning all the players to do a better job? Or is it a case that the other teams have gone so far ahead and we are doomed to loose. I hope that that is not the level of despair which is presently residing in our camp, where others are seen as superior and we as lesser mortals.

It has been alleged that owing to bad management and poor quality of administration that those in authority have been blinded to the present problems that the players face on and off the field, and in so doing have contributed to the exacerbation of the issues at hand. The bottom line is that the passion with which any player performs on the field can only come when one takes an immense level of pride in playing for their country, and in this case the region, coupled with the sharpening of one’s skills, some natural ability and some garnered over time. Is it safe then to assume that our players are lacking in pride, or is there a loss of respect and love for the game of cricket somewhere within the camp? For how much longer would we allow the extremely young and impressionable minds among us in the region to think that the game of cricket is just an interminably tedious, impenetrable sport where our players stand around in white clothes doing nothing very much before trooping off for tea and cake awaiting to loose the game in long run? If our love and respect for the game is to be sustained we must begin to ensure that the music played in the stands at intermission at a cricket game is not more interesting and enticing than the very game itself.

What then is the incentive that drives players to bat, bowl or field the way they do? In years gone by, what part did one’s salary play in the whole scheme of things? Our players are not delivering despite making sums that players in the past could only dream of. It is only my hope that this current crop of players are not motivated more by how much they will earn playing for the West Indies rather than focusing on maximising what talent they have to display on behalf of the region. In this regard individuals cannot continue to see themselves bigger than the game if the team is to rise to the occasion.

No matter how talented a player is, without the right attitude he is worthless to the team. Players of similar talent to those in the 70’s and 80’s have shown that their attitudes seem to change when they are selected. We constantly hear rumours of arrogant attitudes from many of the current players. Is it not this attitude that needs to change most?

Like all professional athletes in team sports, your individual achievements are over shadowed by the team’s failure. Chanderpaul said there was no secret to his success. “As a batsman you simply have to want to bat and as a bowler you must simply want to bowl. That is the attitude, and you should make it a habit if you can.” Chanderpaul is right on this.

Whether it’s one-day cricket or test cricket, players have a duty to perform, and regardless of the circumstances we need to focus on the game. Realistically, it is not possible to always have a team of the quality of many of those in the past, but optimism must remain as it is surely better to learn to love this wonderful sport for what it is, than to hate and criticize it for what it should be.

Our players do have enormous potential, but potential without more is simply not enough. In life when you do something and it works out as you hoped, you do it again and again. This process is called positive feedback. Such repetition becomes a habit until suddenly the old ways one day no longer work and you would be lost if a new habit which is the natural consequence of fresh thinking is not quickly developed. Therefore, the WICB, the selectors and all involved need to adopt new ways of managing and working. We must find new and innovative ways to demand more from our players as well. I can see that we have begun to experiment in many different ways. However, at this point we can only pray that the Windies manages to attain some degree of sustained success very soon.