Don't judge Douglas
After reading The Royal Gazette article this past Monday regarding the Chris Douglas announcement of withdrawing from the national squad, I couldn't resist probing into the matter further.
This news has personally left me distraught and a bit panic-stricken. Here is a young man with a potentially great cricketing future, but at the tender age of 21 looks to be heading into the cricket wilderness.
If you didn't know any better you would conclude from the article that Chris Douglas is lazy, one who doesn't like to train…this isn't the Chris Douglas that I know.
Having worked with Chris Douglas for a brief stint what I saw was a player who had passion for the game, a keenness to learn, but needed and loved to be challenged and stimulated mentally.
I wonder how many after reading the article formed a negative opinion of him.
Have you judged him without even knowing him? I know this better than anyone as many have passed judgment on me, and had never taken the time to know me as a person.
For me I channeled those views as a catalyst for achieving my personal goals. I am hopeful that Chris will do the same.
Where is your head Chris as we have not heard from you? I tracked him down and this is what he had to say
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Q Will Bermuda see Chris Douglas again?
A I am simply unavailable for the upcoming tours of Dubai. After the Dubai tours I will look at the squad of players again to see if Bermuda is making the appropriate steps to become better.
For example, weeding out the older players who are not allowing younger players to develop. If they (the older players) continue to play a part in the squad they must understand that they also have the responsibility to be a mentor.
Not once has an older member of the squad sat down and talked to me about what it takes to get to the next level.
Q Have the recent reports from ICC regarding limiting Bermuda's chances for World Cup and even four-day cricket taken your passion and motivation for international cricket from you?
A My passion is not lost, simply put on hold. There is a lot of cricket to be played for Bermuda between the level we are at and the World Cup level. Right now I feel as a team we are just going through the motions.
I know the team can do better because I have seen what my fellow players can do.
Q Could you now possibly seek to play your cricket overseas as you search for a bigger challenge?
A There may come a day when I look overseas for an answer. However, I must first concentrate on school and go from there.
Since I am at Bermuda College I cannot afford to go to Dubai for just a trip, as it will mean I miss five weeks of school. So I decided it would be better if I did not go.
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I make no secret that I think Chris Douglas is one of the top batsmen in Bermuda by far.
However, it is not his ability that makes me love him as a batsman, but his passion for the game.
He reminds me of Steven Outerbridge, they love the game and they want to take their game and Bermuda to the next level. They share the same views when it comes to the betterment of the sport.
As senior players we do have a responsibility to pass on our knowledge and experiences. However, in receiving this knowledge it is important that Chris and any other young player understands that when playing for your country there are certain standards, expectations, and rules that a team is governed by and no matter how good you may be you are expected to toe the line.
Truthfully, you will not like or agree with everything that is said or done, but you should express yourself in the right forum, preferably in team meetings.
This situation reminds me of when I was younger as I similarly had my run-ins with the Cricket Board.
The media labeled me as Bermuda's bad boy of cricket, so I understand all too well how it feels to be misunderstood.
It was suggested that Chris has a lazy approach to fitness. Well Chris, you share that approach with one of Bermuda's best ever batsmen.
Tuck (Janeiro Tucker) as we called him hated fitness with a passion, but he was able to dig deep and get through it.
One day as I road across Southampton Rangers I looked over towards the South Shore and there was Janeiro running on the beach.
I was stunned, but not totally surprised because all good players put in their extras.
A reliable source tells me that Chris is currently receiving personal training on the side to improve his fitness, so who are we to judge?
Coach Gus Logie once said: “It is ok to do your extra work on the side, but when it is time for the team to train you have to be fit and ready to put in the hard work with the team.”
In my opinion when watching Chris play his persona gives the aura of being bored at times, which I feel is due to the low standards of our cricket.
He is an exceptional talent, but gets caught up in trying to make things happen when he feels he is not challenged.
This results in his indifferent performances at the domestic level, but when he gets on the international scene his performances reach new heights and soar, hence the reason why he currently averages in the 60s for Bermuda.
Years ago we had a coach Bob Simpson from Australia come here and coach the national cricket team.
Simmo was one of, if not the best, coach I have ever worked with. After watching me play and train he approached me one day and asked: “Clay why is it that you try so much stuff when you are batting?
“It is like batting is too easy and you have to try stuff to challenge yourself, almost like you are bored of batting because it is too easy for you.”
Right there and then I had to make some decisions that would focus and challenge me to reach the level that I was looking for in cricket.
For me that was to play in England, and so I set my goals to reach that feat and I did.
I said that, to say this.
Chris, set your sights on what you want out of cricket. Strive toward those challenges that will make you a better player. Your aspirations do not have to begin and end here in Bermuda. If you feel you are good enough to reach that next level then go for it and when you are done then bring those experiences and knowledge back to Bermuda.
So Chris, I applaud you for putting your studies first as education is, and should always be, a priority.
However, when you return to international cricket lead by example and help set the standard for the rest of the team and the next generation of young cricketers coming through.
The more you sweat in practice; the less you bleed in battle. Author Unknown
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