Under the leadership of two distinguished academics, St Hilaire and Beckles,West Indian cricket administrators concluded that the problem with our cricketers was their lack of education. Some years later an eminent psychologist judged our cricketers to be suffering from a malady he described as a “fear of winning”. In the first match of the current tour one of our young batsmen in his maiden Test match hit his own wicket; another twenty-year-old batted at number three, a position that is reserved on all teams for an experienced high calibre batsman; our best fast bowler kept sending down no balls; and finally we could not get the tenth wicket. Notwithstanding our problem with the tenth wicket in the first match, when we won the toss in the second match, in the absence of our regular captain and best all-rounder, we sent in the opposition; again we could not get out the tenth wicket, and our really good fast bowler continued to bowl no balls. When we batted in the second match the same youngster, who, by the way, is obviously very talented, again hit his own wicket, this time a few balls later than the first time. One of our more successful batsmen drove eerily and was clean bowled for 12 runs, and then the wicket keeper, who was batting so beautifully that it appeared he could win selection as a batsman only, in the very last over, with 5 runs needed to avoid the follow on, decided to hook a short ball and gave away his wicket. I do not know what more evidence management needs to grasp the obvious:
That our team needs to be prepared mentally much better than it has been and that the best person to undertake the task is a sports psychologist. Every other successful team has, at least, one. Sport, especially cricket, has both a physical and a mental dimension, and the mental has nothing to do with education.
A guy with a PhD might have done exactly what the wicket keeper did.