Too many chinks in the armour of Windies players

Players in the West Indies team are habitually providing weak performances because they are lazy and not prepared to work harder on their individual games.

That’s the opinion of former Barbados all-rounder and cricket coach Franklyn Stephenson, who questioned the work ethic of regional players before they reached the international stage. Stephenson, an outstanding performer on the regional, English county and South African first-class circuit, suggested players were trying to develop their game at the international level rather than putting in the initial hard work.

Franklyn Stephenson
Franklyn Stephenson

“They are not working hard enough. So when they get to the game you find them lacking in so many areas and you have to go back to the drawing board and I think that will continue for a while until I see players working hard enough before they get to the international arena. So that when they do get there they are ready. 

“They are so short of work that they look like schoolboys with too many basic faults and there is a lot that we can do. I have no confidence whatsoever in the coaching and support staff that is supposed to be preparing these guys. When you look around you don’t see those players getting out there looking to take their time and finish the game. But it is more important for them to show that they are star boys, instead of playing serious cricket with the mindset that we used to be cricket masters of the world,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson, who was Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1989, also gave his take on the recent selection of Test opener Kraigg Brathwaite to the One-Day International squad to play Pakistan in the UAE from September 23, the overall team, as well as the continued struggles with the ball of West Indies Test and ODI captain Jason Holder.

He said the West Indies team did not have that quality about it and therefore needed some stability from players like Brathwaite who has consistently showed that he was more than capable of batting twenty-five to thirty overs. 

But even though he believed Brathwaite could play a vital role at the top of the order, Stephenson questioned whether he had the ability to pressure a good bowling attack and keep the scoreboard ticking over in this format of the game. 

Franklyn Stephenson is not convinced skipper Jason Holder is working hard enough on his game.
Franklyn Stephenson is not convinced skipper Jason Holder is working hard enough on his game.

“It is going to be a struggle because if they put Kraigg in they are not going to get the flying start they normally get from Johnson [Charles] or one of those other openers. But the aim should be to get more steady starts. So you are looking at putting fewer runs on the board and the bowling attack has to be strong enough to defend it. If you look at the England One-Day team with the likes of Jason Roy and Alex Hales batting at the top, those guys smash the ball because they are opening batsmen and West Indies cannot find an opening batsman that can smash the ball. So they have gone to a Brathwaite who can give them that sure start but then it is going to put a lot of pressure on the bowling attack. So it is not going to solve a lot of problems for us. Gayle [Chris] tends to get better starts to help us post scores like over two hundred runs but those boys aren’t really playing fifty- over cricket these days. So what is the next step?” Stephenson explained. 

Considered the greatest regional cricketer never to play Test cricket after touring South Africa with the West Indies Rebel team during the Apartheid era, Stephenson said skipper Holder himself was guilty of not putting in the necessary work on his game. He suggested that if Holder was not the captain he might not have been selected in the squad having failed to take wickets in recent internationals while batting at number eight where he hardly makes consistent contributions with the bat. 

“Our players are spending more time with their competitive games than actually doing net sessions and you don’t really see them looking to garnish that support from people who have been there and I really don’t see the hard work they put in.

“The call was made on a calling programme for Holder to be replaced and that was always on the cards. When you have a young player taking over the captaincy you hope to see him working on his game and we haven’t seen that happen. He definitely has to work on his game and we don’t have the structure right now in the Caribbean and Barbados especially that prepares those youngsters for the international stage that when they get out there even if they are pushed into the role you would expect that they be smart enough to have their own programmes going in order to keep working on their game. 

“If there is any pressure on Jason he put that on himself. He had a golden opportunity and I will never take that away from him. But he has to go out there and cement it. He can still turn it around if he pushes hard enough. But I have not seen him looking for ideas because I have not seen him looking around to find some hard sessions or even finding those players who have succeeded on the international scene that are actively working, to help him,” Stephenson said.

7 Responses to Schoolboys!

  1. Phil September 7, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Mr. Stephenson is very correct in his prognosis. I’d like to ass that the mental part is also just as important. Values, not how much they make or how popular they become, pride of winning,
    staying focus and disciplined. batting technique especially foot movement. Coaches need to work on that. With regards to bowling, the physics yes physics of making the ball swing and in what direction to get it to swing or curve. Heat. Yes heat plays an important role. if one side of the ball is warmer than the other side, the air will flow faster over the warmer side hence the ball will swing nor curve in the direction of the warmer side. Jason Holder can easily bowl at over 95 m.p.h. All he has to do is lift his left leg higher on his delivery stride as if he is going to kick the batsman in his face. This way, his bowling arm will obtain more pivotal power which causes centrifugal force to come into play. Again, physics. NASA uses this force to propel satellites into outer space, Baseball pitchers uses this high front foot technique to pitch their fast balls. They can stand on one spot and throw a baseball at 98 m.p.h. without having to gather force and energy from a run up. Bowling machines uses this same principle. Our coaches need themselves to be taught on these applications and together with playing conditions things can and will happen.

  2. Phil September 7, 2016 at 9:23 am

    The thing also is that we see great potential in young players but e have to put a program in place for them to develop and harness these potentials otherwise that’s all they’re going to remain, potentials and not reality of that promise to get required results which resonates to success and that resonates to happier and more supportive fans.

  3. Phil September 7, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    That should be ask and not ass. Sorry. That happens when one types at 110 w.p.m. and think at 220

  4. Daivney Thomas September 7, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Mr. Stevenson you are so right.

  5. Derek September 8, 2016 at 1:58 am

    All issues identified by Mr Stephenson are common at recreational level. There we have players who are more focused on ‘arriving’ being paid to play rather than paying subscription whenever they play. As an observer one will spot their flaws but cannot explain them to individuals who are unteachable as the consider themselves to know it all. Frequently I counter when asked “how can someone who has not played in a national team coach a player of ‘greater ability’ by asking; how many times has Usain Bolt’s coach ran the 100m in under 10 seconds? Within the West Indies structure there are issues however; at the top which has a ripple effect. A greater portion of resources is spent on management than is allocated to help develop players at grassroots. This mean aspiring players have to be supported financially by their family who seldomly are unable to continue to do this over long periods. Players therefore seek routes to fast-track their profile inorder to get scouted. This is where the problem begins. These players have financially to attain recognition and soon decide that remuneration does not stack up against their workload or expected workload. It is high time that the WI realise that its support in developing players is paramount. Players starting out with the wrong coaching practices and equipment (footwear etc) will inevitably have very short careers and poor techniques.
    More specifically on the selection of certain individuals for certain roles in the WI teams; which Mr Stephenson referred to. This demonstrates the lack of clear thinking at the highest level. Such decisions appear to be made in a top restuarant or rum shop. The captain of a cricket team must understand the game and be a leader of men. His ability and performances when called upon must justify his selection. It is obvious that some reward of loyalty plays a major part in the selection of the WI teams. Here players are showcased to the world as being ready for big money or franchise cricket. This being the exit route or pension. Since Mr Brown’s tenure it looks more like nepotism and my way or the high way. Mr Simmons stated a case and was reprimanded and everyone knows what has happened to the region’s most successful interbational captain since Clive Lloyd.

  6. jimmy September 8, 2016 at 4:35 am

    The players focus on money and the hardwork to suceed is neglected. Love of money is the root of evil. Their need to get back to the road to recovery. And whats that? love for the game and put away self and foolish pride which is their downfall.come on bring us back to our glory days. You”ll have the talent.

  7. billy September 13, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    this is typical of recent going on in our cricket .Mr Walsh to coach Bangladesh , why not get Mr holding for our bowling coach using some of the dollars Mr Cameron is bragging that he has aquired


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