The recently concluded Regional Super50 Tournament might have been a well-organized affair, but not everyone is sold on the quality of the competition.
In fact, Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree says too many under-performing teams were involved in the regional showpiece and this diluted the standard of the cricket.
“I think the tournament was well organized but too many teams participated which affected the quality of the competition. Ten teams took part; eight were from the region. I don’t think we have enough quality players in the West Indies to field eight teams in a tournament. And especially when one takes into consideration that we had two teams playing in India,” Badree told Barbados TODAY.
While Badree who has played 52 Twenty20 International matches for the West Indies suggested too many teams played in the tournament, he said he would not have eliminated the United States or Canada because Cricket West Indies had the mandate to expose the two North American countries to professional cricket and raise their standard.
“I don’t have a problem with exposing them at all. As a matter of fact, they played some really good cricket. On occasions, they were better than some of the traditional teams. Canada won a couple of games in Trinidad and the United States won two games in Zone B played in Barbados. My recommendation is to cut the number of regional teams taking part in the tournament. Maybe, we can have a demotion system where the team that placed last in the tournament have to fight to get back into the tournament in two years’ time. If this is done, teams will not only be playing to win the tournament but also to avoid being demoted. If this is done, a country will pick its best players and play competitive cricket right through the competition because they are also playing to keep their place in the tournament and this would lead to a better quality of cricket being played,” the white ball specialist said.
Badree described the batting in the tournament as disappointing and highlighted the lack of big scores by batsmen and huge totals by the teams.
“Several batsmen made starts in the tournament and were not able to convert them into hundreds or big scores. So from a batting point of view, the tournament was a disappointment. I expected the teams to compile scores of 275 or close to 300. Instead, we saw totals closer to 200 and below. To me in this day when teams are scoring totals of 300, 350 and occasionally over 400 runs on some occasions in One-Day Internationals, the low scores in our cricket tournament made it disappointing for me,” Badree said.
He stated that a lack of concentration by the batsmen was the reason for the small scores throughout the tournament and attributed this to the way they were prepared for the competition.
“For example, they are batting fifteen and twenty minutes in a net session on a daily basis. Therefore, when they go out in the middle and face a similar number of balls for the same number of minutes, their concentration level drops afterwards. It all boils down to preparation, I do not think enough focus is being placed on their concentration levels during their preparation for these tournaments and this is affecting them out in the middle,” Badree explained.
The limited-overs international who was once rated the best Twenty20 bowler in the world, said the solution to the problem was for regional batsmen to spend a substantially longer period of time in the nets.
“What has happened over the years is that some coaches try to fit in all of the batsmen during a net session. This has led to batsmen having a ten or maybe fifteen-minute session because they are trying to fit in everyone in a two or three-hour session. It is in the preparation before the tournament that this problem has to be sorted out by having them spend longer periods in the nets. Even if only two batsmen bat during the session that is okay because that is what they should be doing in a match. In a fifty overs game, a coach wants his batsmen to stay at the crease for 30 or 40 overs. So why are they not preparing them to do so in the pre-tournament training? During the tournament, they are only getting 15 or twenty minutes batting in the nets. It is all about volume in terms of preparation,” he suggested.
Badree noted there was a lot of room for improvement in terms of what coaches plying their trade in the West Indies brought to the table.
“It is just not about being a former great player or a leading cricketer for your national team. I think a coach also has to factor in the psychology of the game and the way cricketers think. Coaching is not necessarily about setting up a session, it is about planning, structuring, techniques, as well as tactics and strategies. It is not only deciding what you want to do in a game and a batting order or helping a bowler. Coaching has to do with much more than that. It is about preparing cricketers mentally and teaching them about executing plans when they are on the field,” said Badree who holds a BSc in Education, a Masters Degree in Sports Management and a Level Three Australian Coaching Certificate.