In pre­par­ing for World Cup, Windies must pay more at­ten­tion to men­tal prepa­ra­tion

Stabroek News Sunday - - LETTERS -

Dear Ed­i­tor, The sec­ond match of the In­dia v W.I. ODI se­ries was a tie. The W.I. won the third. In the fourth and fifth the W.I. were blown away. Those last two matches ended, for all prac­ti­cal pur­poses, af­ter the In­di­ans had bowled about 5 overs. In the 5th W.I. had great op­por­tu­ni­ties to take 3 quick wick­ets (in­clud­ing those of In­dia`s 2 best bats­men) for un­der 30 runs in In­dia`s chase of 104 runs, but got only one, the least dan­ger­ous of the top three. Why?

Re­mem­ber shortly be­fore the tour started the Head coach gave no­tice of his in­ten­tion to depart be­fore the end of the term of his con­tract and the pre­ced­ing coach was dis­missed pre­ma­turely for rea­sons that were in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to most ob­servers. Re­mem­ber also that about two years ago com­men­ta­tor Bishop, a close fol­lower of the game , had ob­served that W.I. teams did not usu­ally win suc­ces­sive games. Fi­nally re­mem­ber that psy­chol­o­gist Rudy Web­ster, even ear­lier than Bishop, had noted a ten­dency in the team dur­ing games that he de­scribed as a “fear of win­ning”. I had never heard the term be­fore, but I knew im­me­di­ately what he meant.

In an un­pub­lished let­ter to your pa­per ear­lier in the se­ries I had noted how the younger bat­ting stars were af­fected by mile­stones, ap­par­ently giv­ing up their wick­ets on reach­ing mile­stones with­out re­gard to the state of the game.

Con­trary to con­ven­tional wis­dom, in­ter­na­tional cricket teams to­day are quite com­pet­i­tive, and given the tal­ent avail­able in the re­gion the up­com­ing world cup should not be seen as some kind of op­por­tu­nity to learn. W.I. can win the cup. I have seen enough videos to be sure that Viv Richards was the most dom­i­nant bats­man in the world for sev­eral years. In light of the at­ti­tude of cricket man­agers and fans in the re­gion I was quite sur­prised by an in­ter­view Richards gave in an English jour­nal about three years ago in which he said that psy­chol­o­gist Rudy Web­ster was per­haps the most im­por­tant in­flu­ence in turn­ing around his early ca­reer from medi­ocre to phe­nom­e­nal. Al­though Richards has been very in­volved in W.I. cricket af­ter his re­tire­ment, and has been a broad­caster I have never heard him speak about the po­ten­tial value of psy­chol­ogy in the prepa­ra­tion of W.I. play­ers. That has been very dis­ap­point­ing, and even more per­plex­ing, to me, es­pe­cially as, for rea­sons dif­fi­cult to ar­tic­u­late, mod­ern young W.I. crick­eters seem to have egos that are more frag­ile than the ear­lier con­querors.

In pre­par­ing for the World Cup next year W.I. must pay more at­ten­tion to

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men­tal prepa­ra­tion, which, by the way is not iden­ti­cal to book learn­ing. Win­ning at this level is not only about tal­ent (of which there is a great deal in the re­gion, not un­like in the arena of law where many peo­ple seem willing to re­main sovereign in name only). Psy­chol­ogy, which would help play­ers ap­pre­ci­ate that win­ning ac­tu­ally brings greater plea­sure than in­di­vid­ual per­for­mance, re­lax­ation tech­niques, con­fi­dence and such skills, is the miss­ing piece.

Het­meyer, Holder and Hope (the 3 H`s) are just about ready to break out. Am­bris would be good to go once he gets over the New Zealand trauma, Lewis is al­ready as good as any, and be­lieve me some of the young bowlers could be win­ners .

With se­ri­ous coach­ing and a few vet­er­ans this kind of tal­ent only needs thor­ough men­tal prepa­ra­tion. Yours faith­fully, Ro­main Pitt

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Sun Nov 4, 2018 14:15 - 15:45 hrs Mon Nov 5, 2018 14:55 - 16:25 hrs The open­ing lasts for 1 1/2 hours

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