Jul 01, 2011 Sports Comments Off on Is the WICB serious about developing future Test players?
By Sean Devers
West Indies cricket is struggling at the Test level mainly because of the inability of the batsmen to bat for long periods and make big scores but it appears that the emphasis of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is not to inculcate the habit of batting ‘long’ among the region’s young players or teaching the bowlers the art of taking wickets by ‘setting up’ batsmen.
Twenty20 cricket is taking over due to its entertainment value for the fans and attractive fees for the players.
However, for most youngsters playing a Test is still the ‘real deal’ and even T20 specialists like Kieron Pollard has expressed the desire to play a Test match.
As the T20 format becomes more popular it is also becoming more evident that spinners and batsmen with sound techniques are among the more successful T20 players; players who had a good first-class grounding, who understand the basics of batting or bowling in the longer version of the game. It seems easier for a player with a solid technique to adapt to T20 cricket than a T20 slam-bang specialist adjusting especially his temperament to Test cricket. So the question is what should young players be prepared for at the Under-15 level, T20s or Test cricket?
Many without the practical knowledge of the game are now involved in the decision making (even the technical ones) in West Indies cricket and some strange decisions are being made.
The 2010 Regional Under-15 two-day competition commences in Trinidad on Saturday and while the decision to revert to a two innings format instead of the 50 over games is commendable, the decision to limit the first innings to 30 overs per side is quite surprising.
Why would the WICB want to have the Under-15s batting just 30 overs in an innings at this formative point in their career instead of trying to produce more Larry Gomes and Chanderpauls – these same WICB members are guilty of criticizing the inability of our batsmen to bat out an entire day of a Test match?
Do we want to produce attacking spinners like Davendra Bishoo to bowl out teams twice to win matches? Or do we want to develop slow bowlers who can’t turn the ball and bowl defensively just to contain?
If the openers provide a solid foundation for the teams in the 30-over innings, this could force the other top order batsmen to slog in the interest of their team winning.
At the Under-15 level this format would encourage bad habits (shot selection) from batsmen who are now in the process of developing proper techniques.
It will also provide little opportunity for the young spinners to flight and spin the ball if the emphasis is on ‘keeping the runs down’ with the taking of wickets a secondary option.
Orin Bailey, who has worked a lot with young players, has criticized this regulation for players at this age in a tournament which should be used to produce players to keep the future of West Indies cricket strong.
The Managers and Coaches of the Regional teams who accept these regulations and then complain are just as guilty as those who set them in the first place.
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