Joseph speaks on Leewards’ demise

St. John’s Antigua - A lack of discipline, inconsistency and disunity are just some of the things being blamed for the yet another overall poor performance by the Leeward Islands cricket team during competitions hosted by West Indies Cricket Board over the last few months.

Captain Sylvester “Bouncing” Joseph, during an interview with OBSERVER Sports said the fortunes of the sub-regional squad will not change until players realise that cricket is not a game of personalities.

He added that Leeward Islands cricket continues to go through a transitional phase but until players change their mentality, the cricket will not improve.

“A lot of youngsters came in and a lot of different players came in and you have the experienced players as well and there were a lot of changes throughout the whole tournament. We understand that it is a process and it is going to take some time, but we want to see fight and determination in our players and it’s going to take time,” Joseph said.

“Their mentality has to change and adapt to being professionals and we have to be patient and get the right players that really want to enhance Leeward Islands cricket.

“That’s what it is going to take – all of us must be on the same wavelength in terms of where we are going to take Leeward Islands cricket; the purpose, the plan, what we are doing as a team, as individuals, but I think that players are just looking out for themselves and for everything that will benefit them and not the team so the team will continue to struggle,” he added.

The former West Indies batsman lamented that inconsistency and the inability to concentrate for even short periods continues to be the Achilles heel of the Leewards.

“I don’t know if it is inexperience but most of the guys have been playing for quite a while. When you are batting and bowling you just need to be patient and we are not executing that. The bowlers are not bowling consistently in the right areas in terms of pressure deliveries,” he said.

“When we are batting and as soon as we have a partnership, we get out and batsmen are getting to 20, 30 and 40 and getting out. Those are not performances at first class cricket. You need players and bowlers to be consistently hitting the right areas and batters to be consistently scoring hundreds in order to put the team is a good position and we failed in that big time.”

Asked if the introduction of former coach of the Kenya team, Eldine Baptiste, had benefitted the Leeward Islands team throughout the competition, Joseph said he respects the former West Indies player for his professionalism and dedication but hinted that no coach can help the current crop of players.

“I don’t think it worked in favour of Leeward Islands cricket as you can see the result shows. Coach Eldine Baptiste is a real professional and the way in which we go about preparing for a game and even just being in the team and settling for meager performances; we are satisfied with the mediocre performance and he is not one for that,” he said.

“In professional sports you need people to perform at the highest level for the betterment of the team, for the betterment of individuals (in the team), and I just don’t think that the players adapted to that mentality as yet. We need to get professional in our output,” Joseph added.

Leeward Islands finished at the bottom of the table in all three competitions hosted by the regional board – the Four-Day competition, T20 competition and the Limited 50-overs competition.

First Published In The Antigua Observer.

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 07:19