‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!’
On Target
February 10, 2006

‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!’

By Neil Williams

To interfere or leave alone, that is the question. When it comes to certain techniques one of the main challenges that a coach faces is whether to tamper with it. In the case of Atticus Browne, who incidentally is one of the brightest young prospects for the future, he has what the coaching manual terms ‘an unorthodox grip’.

At this juncture I will be inclined not to make any modification since there are no indications that his range of strokes is being hampered. He strikes the ball cleanly with a wide arc ranging from extra cover to mid wicket and with a full follow through reminiscent of the great Sir Gary Sobers.{{more}}

I subscribe to the old school of thought that says ‘If it is not broken, don’t fix it”.

When he faces up to better quality bowlers later on, then we will be able to assess if intervention is required. More often than not it is wise to leave a special talent alone. In my opinion he is head and shoulders above all the Under-15 cricketers that I have seen in this country. Others who have seen him play agree that he is very special.

Given a certain amount of technique and talent, top cricket is about mental toughness, determination, temperament and resilience. Atticus seems to possess these vital qualities at this early stage of his development. These assets are essential to a batsman at the highest level. Armed with this innate gift and a good eye it will surely stand him in good stead for the future, since at the top, professionals are good at finding chinks in the armour of promising young batters technique, weaknesses that are not apparent at a lower level.

Perhaps if a proper framework in terms of a club structure was in place then a player of Atticus’ calibre will be playing Premier League Cricket this season. The two young cricket clubs/teams in Vincom Numbgerzs and Franco Construction St. David’s will,

in my view, dominate the premiership in the next two years or so.

Atticus just turned 14 years in December, in other words he will still be elgible to play for the Under-15 later this year. But I strongly believe that he will gain a place in the Under-19 team due to his strength of character and to his undoubted ability.

So why did he not play in the just concluded Under-15 Windward Islands Tournament in Trinidad?

By the time I alerted the manager, the squad was already picked and in training. The team was due to leave in mid December. However the competition was postponed until early January, ample time to find a sponsor to take the extra player. Acquiring the touring experience at this level is very crucial to his development. I am convinced that he would have performed creditably and he would most definitely have boosted the batting immensely. He also bowls leg spin with incredibly good control for his age. That too would have been a valuable asset to the team.

A different method of talent identification and selection should be put in place so that our gifted players are given the opportunity to shine. If this system is given a good go then we can come through this rough period with a large number of bright new stars. “He would have walked into the Windward Islands Under-15 team”, according to Olanzo Jackson (Coach of the SVG Under-15 team).

“From since he started to walk, Atticus has showed a very keen interest in cricket,” his dad remarked. “As a two-year-old he sat down and watched Brian Lara during his record-breaking innings of 375 in 1994,” Mr. Bascombe (Browne’s father) added.

Coaching youngsters like Atticus is a rewarding task and that satisfaction comes from working with them every Saturday morning and seeing them improve – you cannot put a price on that, it is such a buzz and very pleasing indeed. The day I no longer get that buzz is the day I will pack up but I do not imagine that day will come any time soon.

At the cricket programme the aim is to take the players to the next level because a lack of quality batting and bowling firepower has been identified as major reasons the regional team struggles to compete with the so-called big boys of the Caribbean. Special talents that will make a real difference to the potency of the batting and bowling attack must be found.