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By Neto Baptiste

Former national fast bowler, Gavin Tonge, has urged young players to invest in their own development and put in the extra work outside of the regular structured training sessions.

The former Leeward Islands and West Indies player made the call on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, stating that it is one way in which players today could significantly improve their ability to come in situations not learnt on the training ground.

“I believe in that extra training and finding that time for yourself. I used to go and run miles and find myself crying when I was running because I had a mission and I knew that only I could have gone and grabbed that for myself. The coach can only guide me to an extent because remember the coach has to focus on 15, 16 and sometimes 20 players, but you would have to find that extra time to run that extra lap,” he said.

“I never used to love too much target bowling but I enjoy running so I used to run a lot, find the time to just go and run and that helped me a lot in my career,” he added.

The Bethesda player who featured in over 80 First Class matches for the Leeward Islands, also encouraged young players to take time and lean all aspects of the game as it would aid in their all-round development.

“One of the most important things in cricket as a bowler is knowing how to set your own field, and the quicker you know how to do that then the game will come so much easier. If you’re batting and you know that this field is set this way and he is looking to bowl this line, then I am looking to score this way, or if the field is set this way then I am looking to bowl this batsman in this line in order for him to play the ball on the onside. So the quicker a player knows how to set that field, be their own captain, I find that the game will come so much easier. In my career, I learnt that a little bit late,” he said.

Tonge has played 87 First Class matches, claiming 249 wickets for 6,679 runs with a best of seven for 58. In his lone Test for the West Indies, he picked up one wicket for 113 runs while in his five ODIs, he picked up five wickets for 224 runs.

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