Ian Allen sweating over Windwards’ batting
February 5, 2013
Ian Allen sweating over Windwards’ batting

Coach of the Windwards Islands senior cricket team, Vincentian Ian Allen, said he is most concerned about his team’s batting, going into this year’s regional four-day and Super 50 competitions.{{more}}

The Windwards will open their fixture in Super 50 against the Combined Campus and Colleges (CCC) at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia Thursday and meet their opponents in the four-day competition from Saturday at the same venue.

During a practice session for the Vincentian players on the team at the Wilf Slack nets at the Arnos Vale Playing Field on Friday, Allen told SEARCHLIGHT of his concerns.

He said that the team’s batting is his concern “by a long way”, while bowlers over the years have been able “to hold their own”.

Allen spoke about possible reasons for the Windwards’ poor batting display over the years.

He spoke of the traditional format for the Windward Islands, in which they play two-day cricket in the respective territories and in the annual Windwards tournament, then are asked to play the four-day format in the regional set-up.

But Allen said he thinks the batsmen need to be taught the art of batting.

“We need for our batsmen to understand the art of batting, not by just playing shots … The mental aspect of it, how to put together an innings, how to build an innings and basically how to spend time at the crease,” said Allen, a former St Vincent and the Grenadines, Windwards and West Indies fast bowler.

Allen revealed that over the years, following the completion of the regional tournaments, he has been recommending to the hierarchy of the Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control, that they convene training camps specifically for the batsmen.

His recommendation included focus not only on the technical aspect, but programmes that will help to look at batting from a mental standpoint

“You don’t want to take away the flair of us as West Indian cricketers, but we need to put that mental approach to our batting.”

Despite this throbbing headache, Allen is hopeful that the established batsmen in the team — Devon Smith and Andre Fletcher and emerging player, Keddy Lesporis — can add some immediate relief with some good efforts with the bat.

Smith has played for the West Indies at the test and one-day levels, and Fletcher at the one-day and T-20 formats, while, like Fletcher, Lesporis is currently enrolled at the West Indies Cricket Board High Performance Centre in Barbados.

Allen said he knows that they have the capacity to deliver, but it is up to them now to go in the middle and execute what they have accumulated over the years.

The Windwards’ opening salvo in the Super 50 team competition sees Liam Sebastian at the helm, in the absence of Darren Sammy, who is on duty with the West Indies in Australia.

Sebastian’s deputy is Lindon James.

The rest of the team is Devon Smith, Andre Fletcher, Keddy Lesporis, Miles Bascombe, Tyrone Theophile, Dalton Polius, Gary Mathurin, Nelon Pascal, Kenroy Peters, Shane Shillingford and Dellorn Johnson.

For the four-day fixture, Miles Bascombe returns home and will be replaced by fellow Vincentian Donwell Hector.