Mr. Simmons Change Course!! – a response by Dr Andrew Forde

8th June 2015

Overthrows  – backing up strong returns

This guy has analyzed the situation very well.

I believe that having two other wicket-keepers in the side has placed immense pressure on Ramdin.

Even before this added pressure, he has shown a tendency to fail miserably with the bat when the chips are down and the team needs him. His previous significant contributions have been mainly with carefree batting in dead matches or lost causes, where defeat is obvious and inevitable. In situations when a half century can make a difference with the game in the balance and the team needing him, he is MIA. All we get is the disappointed look as he returns to the pavilion.

What makes this worse, is the fear in his eyes when the pressure in on and the transparency of mood which does not engender confidence or inspiration. Tactically, he is like a stuck record allowing the game to meander until the second new-ball while under and over-bowling bowlers in an illogical fashion.

Sequences where attack is required are met instead with defense. The problem is that when you captain a regional game all that is required is a tincture of time, until the batsmen implode under the pressure of mediocre slow bowling. Test Match cricket requires a proactive approach with the capacity to adjust. If he has not learnt this as captain from the under-19 level then it is unrealistic to think Ramdin can learn vicariously now.

Listening to an interview is another frustrating exercise. Instead of a thoughtful analysis of the game showing a knowledge base acquired from years of cricket we get shallow repetitive phrases. Bowling in the right areas… taking the positives… playing for pride… back to the drawing board… pressure cricket… the batters let us down… etc. have been over-used and abused.

There is a vast difference listening to an NBA, NFL or baseball player in a post-game interview where the listener comes away with new perspectives and knowledge.

The WICB and selection committee has been loath to change our captain for fear of victimisation accusations. In our quest for team development some testicular fortitude is required, while insular comments coupled with political interference ignored. Administrators have to do their job.

The captain is not the only problem with our Test team, but I hope that I can continue to see a direction articulated and followed by the selection committee, as they have started with the focus on youth.

Performance must now be an integral requirement for continued selection. This is why we must demand consistent contributions from all batsmen especially from Darren Bravo, Samuels and Brathwaite (in second innings efforts).

Blackwood’s kamikaze stumpings, and the tendency for batsmen to give their hands away after a milestone as though they have done enough, must be addressed. The consequence of repetitive irresponsibility should be a period to reflect outside the starting XI.

I generally think that players need to set goals and have dreams regarding their legacy and contribution to the game and by extension West Indies Cricket.

Appearances, jewelry, clothing and cars should be secondary and thought of as just rewards for a career you can be proud of. The sustainability of the star lifestyle still requires constant productivity, so embrace it.

Rome was not built in a day and neither will the resurgence of West Indies cricket.

The fans still believe it is possible but the players have to also dedicate themselves to this goal.

Dr Andrew Forde

Dr Andrew Forde is a professional dermatologist,  writer, broadcaster and President of the Barbados Body Building Association. An ardent West Indies cricket fan, Andrew wrote about WIndies’ performances at the 2015 World Cup for Wisden India and is a regular panelist and contributor to the Mason & Guests radio show.

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