WI Players Weak In Mind Games

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WI players weak in mind games

Editorial Trinidad Guardian Friday 12th, July 2013

West Indies team emblem
On yet another occasion, the mental brittleness of West Indian cricketers, the batsmen in particular, has been demonstrated as the major weakness in the team performing consistently at a high level. After winning (even though they tried desperately to lose their first game against India) their first two games in the tri-nation series with India and Sri Lanka the West Indian batsmen simply could not apply themselves to the not-too-difficult tasks set them by the two Asian teams. All of Gayle, Samuels, Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Smith, Sammy and Ramdin consistently gave away their wickets to thoughtless and suicidal shots. In the instance of Gayle, Pollard and Samuels, one false stroke looked much like the one of the previous innings.

Sammy showed that he knows of one way to bat: lunge his huge frame and bat at the ball in great hope, completely oblivious of the circumstances of the game and what could be possible.  
In two of those games, specialist bowlers Roach, Best and Narine showed up the lack of temperament and strategic thinking on the part of the senior batsmen. Only young Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo made at least two useful scores each even though they too succumbed to the non-thinking disease of throwing the bat in cavalier fashion. All of the players look good when exercising what is universally known as the flair and creativity brought to the game by generations of West Indian players. 

However, they all crumpled whenever the pressure was turned on by the opposing team. But of course this is nothing new and was most recently displayed in the ICC World Cup. Then, in the crucial qualifier game against South Africa, Pollard literally threw away his wicket when all that was needed was to block his first delivery so that the WI would emerge ahead and qualify for the final.  Instead he heaved high into the lap of a fieldsman at third man. That mental failure was even more stark when it is considered that unlike in the past, Pollard could not complain of not being aware of the situation and what was required of him as the Duckworth/Lewis formula was plastered all over the modern scoreboard.

The amazing reality of this lack of the capacity of the players to apply themselves, to bring into play the skills of the mind so apparent in world sport today has been going on with little input from the West Indies board to attempt to develop the capacity of the modern player to cope with the mental elements of cricket. The national boards of all of the cricket playing nations which make up the West Indies are equally guilty of not being able to discern what is happening and to seek out remedies. What is even more unbelievable is that one of the most successful head coaches, one who was very responsible for the head development of the all-conquering WI teams of Lloyd and Richards, Dr Rudi Webster, has not been employed on a permanent basis to develop the capacity of the senior West Indian team.

What is more, he has not been brought into the academy for West Indies cricket to equip the young players in the A team and junior teams with the skills to cope in a game in which the physical abilities and talents are only the first requirements needed. Past West Indian players and teams were grounded in a culture and society far more capable of passing on the quality values required.  The bling culture of the day cannot pass on the dispositions required. West Indies cricket needs thinking people fully aware of the requirements of the modern game. 
( Trinidad Guardian Friday July 12th. 2013)
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