St. John’s Antigua- There needs to be more meaningful input at the board and management level if the standard of play exhibited by the Leeward Islands cricket team during regional tournaments is to improve.
This is the opinion of recently appointed head coach and former West Indies player, Eldine Baptiste, who echoed the concerns of coaches before him, when he said during an interview with OBSERVER Sports, that those in authority are obviously not in sync with what it will take to move Leeward Islands cricket to the next level.
“To be a successful team, you have got to have all the management and the board singing from the same hymn sheet and you have got to have people who want to help Leeward Islands cricket and make Leeward Islands cricket better. But what I find is that is lacking and there is no structure, and you have got to have the tools to make sure that you can help the players. You need to have a management team that consists of someone to do video analysis so you can show players the mistakes you are talking about because seeing is believing, and if you keep telling players, they are not going to believe unless they see,” Baptiste said.
“You have got to have a good trainer or physiotherapist which you need to look after people’s health. It is very scary that sometimes there is no physio or medical persons around just in case an accident happens, and those are some of the things that not only Leeward Islands alone but the West Indies (WICB) board have got to look into and also WIPA must look after those things for players, and those are the things that need to happen.”
Baptiste, who coached the Leewards during two of the three competitions hosted by the regional cricket board, WICB – the Four-Day and Limited 50-Overs competitions (Stuart Williams coached the T20 squad) – said that players must do their part as well.
“Players have got to make sure they are fitter and not only waiting on the board to put you into a week’s camp. You know what you have to do to be ready for when the season comes along so just don’t wait on the board; and obviously preparation is the key so you have got to be prepared and not try to prepare when the tournament starts and you have got to have the tools as well to make that happen.”
The former Kenya national coach believes that, despite the recent dismal performances by the team, there are players with potential but who are just not technically sound enough to compete at that level.
“I’ve looked at a lot of the players and yeah there is a lot of potential there but we have to turn that potential into performing and you have got to do that on the field and there is where it counts because you can have all the potential and the theory and put all the programmes in place but it is how we execute which we haven’t done,” Bapiste said.
“And that comes from a lot of players having a lot of technical flaws which is not just going to change overnight and if the players are willing and listens and try to execute whet that have been thought you see different results and surely the results in there will change in time to come so long as players continue to listen and learn and improve so that they could execute those skills.”
Leeward Islands finished at the bottom of the table in all three of the WICB regional competitions.