West Indies begin their 2nd Test at the Kensington Oval today. Once upon a time, during our “days of glory”, Kensington was paradise for us and a win was 99% guaranteed. But how things have changed!
Over time, we have become spectators - not of brilliant, enterprising and inspiring cricket but - of a steady degeneration which took us from the top to the very bottom. This is a phenomenon that all cricket-loving West Indians have been grappling with - and we may well have to grapple with for a long, long time, because although we are graced with the occasional déjà vu flashes of brilliance, we have become more consistent in failure and mediocrity than excellence or any sign thereof.
|Gayle is still frolicking in the wild|
But what is our problem? Why do we have world-class enterprising and exceptional players and yet we persistently fail? Moreover, why do (arguably) those players perform with excellence for other teams, except their own? Why is Chris Gayle and Pollard so formidable in the IPL and they can’t can transfer their prolificacy to West Indies cricket?
The above questions lead me to my own mini-theory: that the Windies cricketing problem is not batting, bowling or fielding but thinking!
|Sammy welcomes psychologist, Dr Rudy Webster|
Why would we have a problem with batting when we have proven batting virtuosos like Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shiv Chanderpaul? Why can’t we achieve the smallest of test cricket totals even when these legends are on the team? Why would we have a bowling problem when we consistently wreck batting sides for less than 300 runs in an innings?
The problem’s got to be in the minds of the players. They may have ample value-added competencies that perhaps no other cricketer has; but they lack the tenacity of the mind, the will and the spirit.
But the problem goes beyond them. I am prepared to boldly generalize that the problem is not just with the players but it is universal to West Indies Cricket on the whole; even the selectors and management have the infection, too.
|Dr Hilaire: CEO of WICB|
Why would I want to castigate a genius like Dr Hilaire or a Chairman like Hunte who has a university of knowledge in Sports management and administration at his disposal? But I argue: just as we have “perfect players”, we also have a superb management team; but also, just like the players they manage, they too have not got into the right frame of mind.
I will hastily summarise by placing my argument in a philosophical context: The Windies problems remind me of the ongoing great debate between ‘psychology’ and ‘logic’. I believe we have got the logic right but the psychology is the challenge.
|Dr Hunte: Chairman, WICB|
Cricket is not just about the impeccable physique and rigorous physical training or coaching; it’s not just about the verified, demonstrated and value-added competencies; it has to do more with the thinking plus the psychology that goes into it. If our cricketers feel impotent, then they will never perform when they are expected to so.
The way forward: we have got to treat cricket as a “discipline” – not just an art or a craft; but equally a scientific discipline. The good old days of Sobers, Viv, Holding, Croft and Ambroise are over. Let’s make the corresponding paradigm adjustment.
Notwithstanding all that I have written, let me wish the Windies team the best. I look forward to a victory in the second test. Sammy and crew, don't surrender; put your mind to it and the rest will follow!
On target as usual.ReplyDelete
Doc! You sound like a prophet. At lunch, India is 44/4. Testimony to what you said about our bowlers. I saw the grim and tenacious determination of West Indies this morning, but will it last long? Will they continue in the same vein after lunch? or will complacent nigger-itis" set in and they give it away?ReplyDelete
If they play with that tenacity throughout, then India will be annihilated inside 3 days. They must never allow Haberjan Singh to do what he did sometime again. They must persist putting their mind and body into it. They must stop acting like drunkards like Gilo.