A captain needs heart, sacrifice and dedication
The national cricket team are in their final preparations for the World Twenty20 global qualifying tournament in Dubai.
The top two teams from this tournament will qualify for the World Twenty20 tournament, to be held in Sri Lanka in September. This is a great opportunity for our boys to regain some confidence and some much needed respect in the cricket world.
So far those available to train, they have done so diligently under the watchful eye of our two coaches, David Moore and Clevie Wade.
As a selector I have been privy to watch one or two of the sessions. Unfortunately, with some players being overseas and others having injuries some of the sessions have been limited.
The captaincy has been the hot topic of late. My position on it lies strictly on three core characteristics heart, sacrifice and dedication. These characteristics will assist in the challenges arising from different personalities. A captain's job is both on and off the field, which requires someone to be a tactician and be able to speak well on behalf of his country.
A captain should also be a motivator to his players pushing them session after session to get the best out of them. He does not have to be your best player. He has to be the best at understanding the game from a tactical standpoint and he has to be able to unite his team to get the best out of them. The public's front runners are: David Hemp, Stephen Outerbridge, Rodney Trott, Dion Stovell, and Lionel Cann. Who would be your choice?
T20 is a very different type of game and it actually brings the playing field closer. You can have an outstanding one day team who is leaps and bounds above another team, but when it comes to T20 they may struggle to beat them. That is the reality of the T20 game. So looking at our group there are some teams that if we were playing 50 over cricket we would certainly struggle against the likes of Canada, Afghanistan, and Netherlands. However, playing T20 levels the playing field somewhat and if any one of our many explosive batsmen gets on fire we can beat anyone of those teams and we have to believe it to achieve it.
Two things former coach Gus Logie did that I feel made the world of difference towards our belief system was he got players to buy into our success. One main rule was NO EXCUSES. As a team we agreed that we would not make excuses, but be held accountable for our actions and our performance.
Secondly, as a team we agreed we wanted to be number one in the America's region and we wanted to go to the World Cup. Out of that came the question on how do you plan to get there? Players agreed on sacrifice, training with a purpose, discipline, and dedication beyond the norm… we basically put in place our own guidelines for success.
Therefore if we started falling short the onus fell on us, the players to uphold the guidelines that we put in place, which were the mandate for our success. Simply put, the players knew that by putting in the required work in training and doing extras, they were mentally and physically prepared for battle. We didn't have to step on the field of play and ask ourselves if we were ready, because we all knew that we were ready.
This team that is going to be representing Bermuda will be a good, solid, well balanced team capable of beating anyone providing the necessary work is put in. Yes, the team will be missing several key players, but the focus must be on what players are there and what is needed to get the best out of them. Look at the English Premier League. Newcastle United currently sit in fifth position. On paper they do not have a better team than Liverpool or Arsenal, but they are currently ahead of both of them, simply because as a team they work for one another, play for one another, respect one another; hence they get results against teams with far more individual quality.
This is what self-belief is all about, being able to forget who the opponents are and sticking to a game plan and making it work for you, to the best of your ability.
On a slightly different note, but just as important, moving forward it is about time we take our national team and programme to another level. Just as the team should be held accountable, so should everyone associated with a job description. If we are paying people to do a job, we need a process in place to ensure that the job being done is acceptable to what's required, appropriate enough to help achieve results, and in both the short and long term connects with the standards of the national programme.
Coaching modules should be mandatory throughout every level of the national programme, adhering to the head coach's strategies and beliefs. The head coach should be visible in order to critique and give feedback at the training sessions for both positive and negative comments.
Lastly, to the players keep putting your hard work in. Yes, this T20 tournament is big, but our major tournament as you know is in 2013 when we attempt to pre-qualify for Division 2. Use this tour as a stepping stone to build team unity and to discuss the way forward for Bermuda cricket. Our cricket is in your hands and we all know we don't like where we are, so what are you going to do to assure we get back to where we are supposed to be?
Quote of the week: “Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you.” Eddie Robinson~