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November 7, 2018
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November 7, 2018

Motivation is the key

A good cricketer who is playing three-day or four-day cricket can adapt quite easily to the five-day Test match.

The Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) will be changing the format under which they play their League games during the next season in 2019. They have decided, in their wisdom, to play over three consecutive days per game.  Theoretically, it is a good idea but practically, there are some dangers involved which could defeat the very purpose for which it is intended.

Azim Bassarath, president of the TTCB, says: “….because when you look at domestic local cricket, we are not competing effectively at the regional level and that is a major concern to the TTCB.”

He goes on to say, “What we are hoping to do also, we are hoping that the Premiership 1, the League games will be played on the Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday, consecutive days, so that the players will play longer cricket that will really propel them to compete at a much better level in the four-day tournament.”

He added that “on a Sunday afternoon at three o’clock, they will be playing on a three-day old pitch. We have never done that before.”

Lengthening the number of consecutive days is not going to improve the quality of the cricketer who is participating. Actually, it’s the other way around; a quality player adjusts quite easily to the length of a game.

That is why a good cricketer who is playing three-day or four-day cricket can adapt quite easily to the five-day Test match and doesn’t have to play in the five-day game before.

I have to hark back to my day when club cricket, not only in Trinidad but in Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana, was played over three Saturdays for a single game and only four hours a day!

It was for the very practical reason that participants worked for their living during the week which included Saturday mornings! Yet we were expected to play in four-day games when selected to represent the island.

Worked every day

We were not professional cricketers and did not earn our living from the game. In my first game at home for Trinidad, I played against the England touring team of 1960. It was a four-day, first-class game and I had to request leave of my employer whereupon I left the office at 10 every morning to get to the Oval for the game starting at 11.30.

We batted first and Alvin Corneal and I had a partnership of 88 for the first wicket against seasoned professionals like Freddie Trueman, Brian Statham, and David Allen. And this is after Alvin and I and the rest of the team all went to work every day of the game!

It wasn’t ideal but the three W’s—Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott—top-class batsmen of the era plus Jeffrey Stollmeyer and Alan Raeall had to play and work.

The point I’m making here is that practising the art of cricket, of batting, bowling and fielding has nothing to do with how many consecutive days the cricket game is. It is a matter of increasing one’s concentration in the nets, developing the skills required and then executing on the field of play!

A cricketer practises regularly, doing the right things in the nets like playing straight, driving all along the ground, bowling a proper line and length with every delivery until one becomes so accustomed that it can be done without conscious thought.

Nowadays there is a coach at every club to guide the cricketer along the way in the nets but it wouldn’t make an iota of difference whether the game is three consecutive days or five.

Then it is said that the pitch will be wearing on the Sunday afternoon at three o’clock! This is absolutely beyond me. All pitches play differently and wear only according to its preparation.

There can be an absolutely perfect pitch for batting on the Sunday afternoon as well as it could be showing signs of wear and tear by the Saturday morning. Any groundsman can impart that knowledge, as soil, wetting, grass, rainfall and covering can all play its part in the nature and quality of a pitch.

There is nothing that could replace regular practice containing long hours of batting and bowling in the nets to sharpen the skill and mindset of the team to overcome their opponent.

Two-inning league cricket is vital to the quality play of the cricketer but it doesn’t need three consecutive days. It is not going to improve the competitiveness of T&T’s cricket!

What T&T’s cricket needs badly is for its cricketers to spend longer hours in the nets and deeper discussions about cricket in team meetings with their coaches.  Also, a build-up of attitude through self-confidence ought to develop inspiration and a winning mentality!

To this end, motivation is the key!


By Bryan Davis

former West Indies Test cricketer