There are three vital elements needed to produce a system that creates the dynamic required for a successful cricket team. This force causes it to change or progress for its betterment. These elements consist of the captain of the team, the chairman of selectors and the coach.
How these three interact with one another and by extension the team will determine the success or failure of that team. Their importance is not necessarily in the order placed above.
The present Trinidad & Tobago national cricket team participating in the four-day Professional Cricket League (PCL) in the Cricket West Indies 2017/18 tournament is being affected by the lack of symmetry of these fundamental components.
For example this is what the skipper Denesh Ramdin had to say about his batsmen and fieldsmen after their one-wicket loss to the Leeward Islands at the Queen’s Park Oval earlier this month: “Our batting department needs to put runs on the board. We also need to take our catches. We had a few dropped catches in this game and that as well has been hampering us through the season. So it is very important that we play good cricket and we try to improve as we go along…It is a young team and hopefully they can learn from their mistakes.”
Any cricket fan could make that statement. In the game of cricket one team has to make more runs than the other in order to win the game. What Ramdin ought to be addressing is the reason the batsmen are not making runs. Why are his fieldsmen dropping catches; not just making inane statements like ‘not playing good cricket’ as an excuse; that’s there for all to see.
The coach is never mentioned. He ought to say that he’ll be talking to the coach to come up with a plan to improve our catching and make our batsmen more productive. That’s what he should be telling the fans so that we’ll know what we have to look forward to, at least we’ll understand that work is being done on the shortcomings of his team.
Even more amazing is that the coach Kelvin Williams is saying the very same thing. He’s lamenting the fact that the batsmen are not getting enough runs and states they have to improve and try and do better. It’s impossible to believe that Williams does not know what procedures to implement in order to improve the standard of his team’s batting.
The chairman of selectors Raphick Jumadeen hasn’t got a clue what should be done so he and his fellow selectors drop three players at one time, two of whom had scored hundreds earlier in the season, and one who had picked up five wickets in an inning in the game before he was dropped. This type of harsh removal sends the wrong message and leaves players in the team worried and nervous about their performances—a sure recipe for failure.
After one game the same three are returned to the team; the message sent by this confused selection policy is that the selectors are not sure of their decision-making which perplexes those who were dropped, and worries their replacements. There is no settled policy of selection and that makes for an unsettled team. The message sent by the selectors to the cricketers is puzzling.
Then the selectors (the chairman always takes full blame in my book!), the captain and the coach get together and with four 4-day matches out of ten games still to be played they decide to hold a couple of 50-over practice matches. Incredible!
The reason given is that the national team always performs better in the shorter format! Yet the 50-over contest is to take place after the completion of the PCL! Unbelievable!
Over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period they hold one compulsory practice session and the 50-overs but didn’t get much play because of rain. That’s not the point! The point is the total lack of work given to these cricketers!
It is all well and good to say that the cricketers should take the initiative but motivation and determination is triggered by teamwork from all involved. All the players should be practising and working out together and no one must be missing including the captain and certainly not the coach, in order to build team spirit and confidence!
Our national team is in a mess and it’s no wonder we have not won the regional four-day competition since 2006 and before that 1985! It is because there is a dearth of cricket knowledge at the Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board: from preparing a national team for a series of matches to applied skills and abilities for the development of a winning capacity in our cricketers!