Opportunity knocks for new crop of West Indies talent

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Andre Coley –

THE NEXT few months would be very interesting for the West Indies cricketers; their new coach has been placed on an interim basis, thus, the way forward would be in contrast to the previous coach’s concept.

Every coach has a different approach to propel their side forward which is quite natural as everyone perceives situations in a distinct manner to suit their personality.

Hence, previous coach Phil Simmons’ philosophy would vary from that of the freshly selected newcomer, albeit on an interim basis, Andre Coley, the new man under the microscope. This will also mean a change of one of the three selectors because the coach is, automatically, one of the three.

Barbadian-born Roland Butcher has been chosen as a selector, although it’s not clear whether he has done this type of job before for any first-class or Test team. I guess he must have or I doubt he would have been elected. He played in England for 15 years (1974-90) with Middlesex County Cricket Club as a right-handed middle-order batsman. He represented England in three Test matches averaging 14 and in 3 One-Day Internationals with an average of 19.

Desmond Haynes is the lead selector and, together with Butcher and Coley, plus input from the Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite and whoever the white-ball captain would be (the captains are not selectors, but are called in to advise only on their teams, they have no vote) would choose the teams to tour Zimbabwe and South Africa from January 28 to March 28.

The itinerary includes two Test matches in Zimbabwe, followed by two Tests, three ODIs and three T20s in South Africa.

There are no top-of-the-table teams like Australia to embarrass them, therefore, it’s a critical opportunity, not only to assess West Indian cricket and what stage it is at, but moreover, it should assist Cricket West Indies to judge precisely where they are heading, what the future as a Test playing member holds for the region in all formats, in addition to whether the present plans, plus the subsequent policies, hold any forthcoming expectation of success.

Consequently, much care and consideration must be given when the committee sits to review their players and decide on the plan moving forward. Are they going to invest in youth so that within a year or two there’ll be experienced positive players gracing the international cricket fields for the WI? Or are they going to stick with those who are experienced but have been failing constantly for a few years?

I absolutely appreciated the approach of the young Tagenarine Chanderpaul to his debut in Test cricket. He showed all the requirements of a blossoming Test cricketer, to open the batting with the skipper Brathwaite and give the impression of being the senior batsman. An excellent “big-match” temperament, showing no signs of nervousness or having the jitters.

Tagenarine Chanderpaul

He was a picture of self-confidence, revealing all the positive signs of a batsman who knew what he was doing. The occasion never got the better of him in both Tests Down-Under. WI could do with more cricketers like this youngster. I feel sure that like his dad, the fantastic Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Tagenarine practises tirelessly.

That is the advice and work ethic that coaches must push on their charges endlessly, for them to enjoy success. Through long, hard practice sessions, one builds self-confidence, concentration, skill and everything that is positive. And the beauty of this is that the cricketer does not have to wait for the coach to tell him how and when he has to train.

When the team is training, fine, he’ll be there with the team. However, if he wants to bat for an hour extra in the nets he can organise bowlers to bowl to him. The best batsmen in the world of cricket over the years, the record-holders, all did this and though I mention batsmen, it works for bowlers as well. I say it constantly that WI cricketers don’t practise enough, yet that’s the only way to improve technical skill, plus, all the other assets a cricketer needs to play the game with ability, improving all the time and eventually emerging winners.

There are quite a few promising youngsters in the region and the selectors’ job is to identify them, increase their workload, and improve their cricket intelligence by constant lectures, ensuring they understand the game and why certain approaches are done. Only then, WI would boast of a winning team.