Baptiste - Concentrate on shortfalls
ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Coach of the Leeward Islands cricket team and former West Indies player, Eldine Baptiste, responding to reports that some players have complained about unusual coaching methods he utilised during two regional tournaments, questioned the legitimacy of those reports, adding that all players knew what to expect once he assumed the leading role.
Baptiste, who was brought on for both the regional Four-Day and Super50 competitions, reportedly implemented measures in which players were being charged unusual amounts for either bowling no-balls and/or getting out too easily during training sessions, and even on match days.
According to the coach, players must earn their places in the squad and stop finding excuses for their own failures.
“I speak to the players as a team and I speak to everyone individually after every game as well or before every match, and when a young player comes in or any player comes in, I speak to them on what I stand for and what I would expect from them as a player and as a team. Now it’s always excuses and if you are making excuses you will find excuses,” Baptiste said.
“First, when I arrived they were telling me how they were scared of getting left out. But if you are focussing on what you have to do which is making runs and taking wickets, you wouldn’t have to be thinking about getting left out. Players have been picked in the past with mediocre performances and I am very simple and I have been very honest, and I will not lose continuously with the same team and with the same players and that’s one thing I won’t stand for.”
Instead of complaining, according to Baptiste, maybe the players should try to implement some of his recommendations.
“You must be able to play forward with soft hands and you must know how to play back off the back foot; and then when you are going to play attacking strokes you must know what to do in order to score runs, and those are simple basic things. I don’t know if it is because I am being honest and straight with the players why they have a problem with my coaching style,” he said.
“What you must ask them and what everybody must ask them is that whatever I ask them to do and if they implement what I do, what is the difference. If they implement what I ask them to do and they fail then I fail but how am I going to fail with them implementing what I asked you to do and what to execute.”
The former Kenya coach said he knew what he was inheriting when he accepted the job, but urged players to change their mentality if they expect to see improvement in their cricket.
“We all have to take a step back, look at ourselves individually first instead of always looking to blame someone and that’s what I find around here: everybody is always blaming the next man. I am not blaming anyone. I normally look at myself and see the preparation I give the guys, and if it’s the right one and when I look at that, I prepare the team every time in the best way I can,” Baptiste added.
“I am not afraid of coming here to contribute to Leeward Islands cricket and make Leeward Islands better, and I have no doubt in my mind I can do that; but I can’t force people to do what they don’t want to do.”
Leeward Islands finished at the bottom of the table in both the Super50 and Four-Day competitions under Baptiste’s guidance. The sub-regional squad also finished at the bottom of the table in the T20 tournament with Stuart Williams at the helm.