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Plenty of room for improvement at halfway stage

By Clay Smith

We have reached the halfway mark of the cricket season and clearly St David's look a sure bet to win the league, but today I want to look at the good, the bad and the ugly of the first half of the season.

As we all know Cup Match is around the corner and several players will be contesting for places. Throughout the first half of the season some players easily stood out with their performances.

The following players would make my All-Star selection for the first half of the season in batting order: Chris Douglas, OJ Pitcher, Deunte Darrell, Dion Stovell, Rodney Trott, Malachi Jones, Sinclair Smith (wicketkeeper) George O'Brien, Rudell Pitcher, Dell Hollis and Kamal Bashir.

Let me start with the ugly. The lack of discipline that has been displayed from some of our cricketers is atrocious.

Players cursing the umpires because of decisions that went against them, players throwing their bats, throwing helmets, players arguing with team-mates on the field of play, it just isn't cricket. Cricket can be mentally draining I know, but that doesn't give players the right to act in this manner.

Players must remember that they are constantly being watched by younger players who will copy what they see. Therefore, we must be mindful of how we conduct ourselves, both on and off the field.

This brings us to the bad. The standard of cricket that is being displayed week in and week out, which is a result of poor preparation by players is just unacceptable. Our cricketers simply do not take this game seriously anymore. Their preparation for games is abysmal, almost non-existent for some, yet they wonder why they underperform.

If you are a player and you are constantly doing the wrong thing and getting poor results will you continue doing the same thing or will you try something different in an effort to be successful?

Very few clubs warm up properly, which is a direct result of the standard of cricket we see throughout Bermuda because mentally players are not prepared once the game starts.

Another worry is the inconsistency that I see from the umpires. Some decisions that I have seen given have been shocking.

I don't know if it is fatigue, lack of concentration, or what. That is why I had strongly recommended that some games be taped so that flaws can be detected and discussed during the umpires meeting. This would help improve the standard of umpiring.

Don't get me wrong I am not bashing the umpires. I respect that they are human and will make mistakes just like players make mistakes, but it is the inconsistency in decision making throughout the umpires association that bothers me.

There have been a few good spots so far this season, one being the standard of the wickets. which for the most part have been good. The wickets that I have seen so far have been good batting tracks, yet they still offer the bowlers some assistance.

Another pleasing aspect is that no games have had to be cancelled due to shortage of umpires who play a very important part in the game and their commitment is much appreciated.

Without their services we would not be able to manage. Lastly, and to finish on a high note, the St David's team have been outstanding.

Their dominance during the first half of the season cannot go unnoticed.

Can they go the rest of the season undefeated, stretching their streak to two years in a row, something that no other team in my era has done and probably any era?

Wendell Smith, their coach, has them firing on all cylinders and most teams are defeated before they even step onto the field. They are oozing with confidence and it will take an exceptional team performance to halt their undefeated run.

As the second half of the season starts, and with Cup Match on the horizon, it is important that we remind players that they are on show; they are role models, whether they want to be or not.

Treat the game with respect, treat umpires with respect and strive to be the best that you can be. Remember the 5 P's — Proper planning prevents poor performances.

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Published July 11, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated July 10, 2014 at 9:16 pm)

Plenty of room for improvement at halfway stage

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