The Importance of a Fit Team
My good friend and former fellow cricket commentator, Joseph “Reds” Perreira, threw his mind back to the eighties. At that time Dennis Waithe was in charge of the West Indies team as the fitness instructor.
The basic fitness level currently demonstrated by the current players is not satisfactory. This is a serious matter as fitness is the primary step to progress in any sport.
We could all recall the absolute strength of the teams in the era mentioned and players like Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Curtley Ambrose, Mike Holding and Courtney Walsh. Their physical capability in their capacity as fast bowlers was key in mastering their skills successfully for many years. The same could be said of the batters like Sir Garry Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Sir Viv Richards, Seymour Nurse, Alvin Kalicharan, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Larry Gomes.
Today, I am pretty certain that there are many trained fitness instructors in the region who could do the job successfully. Even as my friend Reds mentioned the Australian as having done a great job. Therefore, we must now extend that type of physical development through all the cricketers in the various islands.
Increase the Capacity of Regional Coaches
Also needed for the improvement of our cricketers is the understanding of basic technique and tactics. These serve to utilize the methodology of exercise physiology to bring into their repertoire of shots for the batsmen and the rhythm and use of energy by the bowlers.
Unlike other sports, there are specific exercises which cricket needs. A methodical approach is for the ability of players to make ideal use of movement of the feet and hand/eye coordination for batsmen as well as perfection of deliveries for bowlers.
Maybe the CWI should take heed of expanding their coaching staff for the benefit of reaching all players in the region.
I distinctly recall the year when Andy Roberts was invited to spend six weeks in Trinidad and Tobago to share his knowledge and expertise in order unearth our natural teams’ talent.
Of course the guile of Bernard Julien and Ken Furlonge, the perfection of line and length by the deceased Prince Bartholomew and Bruce Eligon, when supported by the spin quality of Willie Rodriguez, Rafick Jumadeen, Inshan Ali and Pascall Roberts, provided great success in the regional tournaments.
Furthermore, Andy could well have earned credit for Mervyn Dillon and Ian Bishop during his search.
Invest in the Region’s Talent
It is my hope that the suggestion given by Reds may reach the ears of the management of the CWI, their Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams, and Coach Phil Simmons.
At this juncture, I wish to congratulate Dr. Rudi Webster, a former club player and sports psychologist, for his superb newspaper article which defined completely the profession that is coaching, which I suggest that each young coach should study.
The constant pain of failure because of the moderate standard of cricket displayed should draw the attention of all the experts.
I admit that we are small population within the Caribbean, hence the reason why we should indulge in rebuilding the overall strength of our cricket!