Fri | Apr 16, 2021

Playing unorthodox shots is the problem for Windies

Published:Monday | January 25, 2021 | 12:07 AM


I have often said that if I should meet Oral Tracey, I would give him a proper dressing down for always ‘tekking serious ting mek joke’. One such case happened last week when he was giving his opinion on the performance of the West Indies team during their first match against Bangladesh.

Two days later, I was on an overseas call with one of our cricketing legends and expressed concern that he spoke with what sounded like scorn about the players. My position was that if the other side is more talented, that is the outcome to expect. He screamed at me, in colourful language, the printable portion suggesting that he was not talking about talent.

On reflection, I think I know what he had on his mind. When I was two years into my teens, I was one of a group that was chosen to attend clinics conducted by the island cricket coach – a Mr Dickie Fuller. Mr Fuller came, greeted us and introduced himself in five words. He immediately took a bat and said he was going to introduce us to the first and most important thing every cricketer should know – the standard batting technique – quickly getting into the correct position, head and body in line with the ball, feet placed next to where the ball is expected to bounce, bat and pad together, etc.

I say all this because over the past several years, I wince when watching our cricketers at the crease. This was particularly so when I watched the Bangladesh game. Our batsmen were making ‘agricultural’ strokes. I describe them that way because one got the impression they were farmers using farm implements to clear bush. When the strokes were not agricultural, they looked as if they were swatting flies. The impression one gets is that they have never mastered the first rule of batting which was drilled into me as a 14-year-old.

I suspect the advent of limited overs cricket, with its emphasis on rapid run-scoring, has led tothe increasing use of unorthodox shots to hit the ball. Nowhere is the elegance introduced by the British to be seen. What we now have is an ‘American’ version of the game. And I know of no game introduced by Americans that has any element of elegance in them.

So what are the coaches doing? In those early years, those of us who failed to master the orthodox stroke had the bat taken from us and asked, politely, to stand under a tree some distance from the cricket field and wait till the end of training.

Can we hear from the coaches?