Failure is NOT an option! Local supporter calls on WI players to step up for World Cup

“…mere weeks away from the last chance to qualify for the 2019 World Cup, Caribbean people are still uncertain whether our team can get one of the final two places.

“It is against this background that I have decided to address you, the cricketers, directly. Whatever happens at the Board level, you, the players, are equally accountable to us the people. Also, as professionals, each of you has to work on his game if the team is to improve.”

The following Letter to the Editor, which seeks to motivate the West Indian group of players responsible for earning the regional team a place in the upcoming World Cup, was written by Olabisi Kuboni of D’Abadie.

Photo: West Indies cricketers (from left) Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Andre Russell celebrate their World T20 cricket tournament final win over England at The Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium in Kolkata on 3 April 2016.
(Copyright AFP2016/Dibyangshu Sarkar)

Dear Members of the WI Team,

This letter is addressed mainly to players in the Senior and A teams, even though I am hoping that the broader group of franchise-contracted players can find something of benefit in it as well. I am fully aware that many of you are relatively new to cricket at this very high level. You have entered the arena when the status of West Indies cricket has been at an all-time low for a very long time. As a result, the responsibility for rebuilding is on your largely inexperienced shoulders.

I remain convinced that you are the ones to take WI cricket forward. However, the poor run of form cannot be ignored. After the England series, many of us believed that lessons learnt from that experience would carry over into New Zealand and provide the foundation for improved performances. That was not to be.

What is even worse is that there was no effort to explain why the New Zealand series was such a disaster. Instead what we got was another round of changing of the guards, including the dubious reinstatement of Richard Pybus with the lofty title of High Performance Director.

Photo: Anxious Trinbago Knight Riders fans look on nervously during their team’s CPL final against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on 9 September 2017. West Indian fans may have some nervous moments as the inexperienced regional team bids for a place in the 2019 World Cup.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Is somebody trying to undermine Jimmy Adams? But I must not be distracted.

So, mere weeks away from the last chance to qualify for the 2019 World Cup, Caribbean people are still uncertain whether our team can get one of the final two places.

It is against this background that I have decided to address you, the cricketers, directly. Whatever happens at the Board level, you, the players, are equally accountable to us the people. Also, as professionals, each of you has to work on his game if the team is to improve.

Let me just clarify one thing before continuing: my knowledge of the game is very limited. Most of the technical terms fly way above my head. But I am hoping that the few thoughts I will share can assist you in managing how you learn, making decisions about and executing your cricketing skills.

One remark that I often hear when the team is batting is that the batsman waits for the bad ball to play a shot. In my view, if the batsman is facing a good bowler, the bad balls may be few and far between. Invariably, after a while that batsman will have to take a chance and, more often than not, he will end up getting out.

What that tells me is that the batsman is unable to deal with the type and/or range of deliveries from the bowlers he faces. And this may be because the range of his own batting techniques is limited or, even if that is not the case, he is unable to decide on the spur of the moment which technique is required at that time.

Photo: West Indies players (from left) Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo and Chris Gayle. The Windies will be without the services of the Bravo brothers in Zimbabwe as they bid to qualify for next year’s World Cup. 
(Courtesy AP)

That scenario brings a few questions to mind. First, when batsmen are learning batting techniques, do they make a conscious effort to link those techniques to possible bowling types they are likely to face when they take to the field? If yes, are they also able to work out how to vary a basic technique, in case the bowler makes subtle changes to his delivery?

Secondly, during their off-the-field learning, do they mentally rehearse making decisions about which batting technique (or variation of a batting technique) to choose for different types of delivery? Do they also attempt to add other factors such as possible field placings and pitch conditions into the mix during these off-the-field rehearsals?

Finally does each batsman document his techniques in a way that allows him both to review as well as update them on a regular basis?

Information about the batsman’s control during the game is another area that should receive your attention. Kartikeya Date, in his review of the Test series between South Africa and India in South Africa, (, 2 Feb, 2018), thinks that it should be used more often in assessing a batsman’s performance. Control, he explains, is a measure of batting and bowling that records whether or not the batsman was in control of the delivery, whether the ball went where he (the batsman) intended it to.

ESPNcricinfo provides statistics about this measure for each batsman. Is it possible therefore for you to use this information to do your own detailed post-match assessment? What is the proportion of shots you were in control of versus those you were not in control of? Are you satisfied with the balance between the two? When you look at batting from the point of view of the batsman’s control, it is clear that you cannot think of a batting technique without connecting it to the bowling.

Photo: West Indies captain Jason Holder sends down another delivery during a practice session at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad on 22 June 2107, ahead of an ODI match against India. Holder will be one of the leaders of the regional team’s batting and bowling effort as it bids to qualify for next year’s World Cup.
(Copyright AFP 201/Jewel Samad)

One last thing. Efficient decision-making requires equally efficient organisation of the knowledge that you need to make those on-field decisions. A loose ad hoc collection of techniques in your head is of no practical use when you have only a split second to decide. Mental organisation is key.

Best wishes to those heading to Zimbabwe. You are probably already there by now!! No need to tell you that the stakes are high and that not getting one of the two places is NOT an option!

More from Wired868
King leads WI in S/Africa dress rehearsal; Shamar set for T20I debut

Cricket West Indies today announced a 15-man team to face South Africa in the West Indies’ final dress rehearsal before Read more

Open letter to Scyld Berry: does plucking feathers from Lara’s wing float your boat?

These growing feathers plucked from Lara’s wing Will make him fly an ordinary pitch. Who else would soar above the Read more

Vaneisa: Questions of legality and integrity still haunt West Indies cricket

A few days ago at Lord’s, Sir Viv Richards and Sir Curtly Ambrose had a conversation with Machel Hewitt of Read more

T20WC 24: Shamar, Hetmyer and Chase make WI squad; Mayers, Evin miss out

West Indies coach Daren Sammy listed 24-year-old fast bowler Shamar Joseph in his squad today as he announced the 15-man Read more

Best: Fire in Babylon and fireworks under pressure—we love the way WI play

Bazball brings a broad smile to British faces. It brings back very happy memories, but not from before the last Read more

Best: Berry wide of mark for praising WI style, yet blasting Lara

History, we West Indians are acutely aware, is written for the most part by the victors. So, although the West Read more

Check Also

King leads WI in S/Africa dress rehearsal; Shamar set for T20I debut

Cricket West Indies today announced a 15-man team to face South Africa in the West …


  1. I disagree with all of you. The WI Team can certainly make it to the World Cup. If they book early they can get good seats.

  2. So we qualify…then what??!!…more misery and shame for the fans. I would prefer if we went with the best team. Our cricket management thinks differently.

  3. the team should really be pulling out of international competition for at least three years to re-group. Failure becomes a learned behaviour.

  4. Failure is a wonderful option. Only then will the loss of revenue make the board turn on themselves.

  5. Olabisi Kuboni – I truly appreciate your letter of appeal and the accountability levied to the players. They are indeed, the MAJOR STAKEHOLDER here – the Board, yes, but the players, a YES, and another, YES! Too often, we, especially those of us in the Caribbean region (but not all countries) do not have giveback hearts. In my parent’s world and Lebanese culture, they have taught their children many things but, there is one hinges on remembering one’s roots and this is my focus here and supports Olabisi’s. They frequently used a saying, “Fileh-ibn-ileh” and this can be translated in several ways. Literally, it means, “A peasant from a peasant.” In the extended version, it suggests that if ones reaches a high position in life they are NEVER TO FORGET, from whence they came. Posses the give back mentality! Make better that which is given to you, person or circumstance! These have forever stuck with me. The truth is Olabisi and other readers here, this was a truth taught to me by many a teacher in Tranquility Boys RC School from standard 1 through 5. Folks, like Mr. Jones, Mrs. Osborne, Mrs. Brown (Selby’s lovely mother), Mr. Miller, and Mr. Inkim all charged that we adopt this mentality in life. This did not stop there. It went on to Woodbrook Secondary for my First Form year and thence to, St, Mary’s College. Then upon my return to UWI after two years abroad in Canada, Dr. Bob, head of the Social Science Department, and a very-much missed human being, hailing from Guyana, reached and touched me and said, “Hannibal, just pass it on!”. This was in return for me expressing my extreme gratitude for his enrolling me to UWI. “Pass it on!” And since, I could NEVER FORGET it and it’s “Fileh-ibn-Fileh” meaning. He was of African decent, a Guyanese and a beautiful, human being that showed no favor for anything but the truth and to encourage and empower others. Give back, players, give back. This too was the idea that I labored on instilling in the minds and hearts of the T&T National Team players led by Sancho, Carrington, Jack, Glasgow, Travis, and others, during the 2006 WC buildup Campaign. I would share many things in the hope of strengthening our fight for country and flag, but this one, seemed to have held their attention as they would contest that the meals they were getting from their then very endowed CLICO sponsored clubs, were better than what I was arranging for them at the National Team’s practices. I would engage their minds with, “Your club is as your girlfriend or wife, and your country, is, your mother”. “Don’t you ever belittle the bread and butter that your mother gave and raised you up with in favor for what your girlfriend or wife is providing, for tomorrow, you shall lose that “club’s affiliation” BUT NEVER, shall your mother, betray you!”
    WI players, Olabisi is asking for you to consider digging deep into your soul so that you can be the best ever in this little window of opportunity give to you. The answer in single-minded sports like Cricket, Tennis, Golf, and the penalty taker in Football, the free-throw player in Basketball, and other such in other sports, is to grind, claw, climb, and overdo and outlast your opposition in the key areas that make up a sporting success – those areas cover, the 1. Physical, 2. Mental and psychological, 3. The Technical, Tactical, and Strategic, 4. Social, 5. Spiritual and Servant-leadership components.

  6. Failure is an option – probably the best last option to save West Indies cricket with a collective, fan disengagement, media attack & regional government response towards board

    Once WI get qualification and get hands on the ICC millions just for participation there is nothing to stop Cameron and private CWI organization from doing what it wants

    Just like in football when major teams fail to qualify for World Cups – Windies needs that embarrassment to put board under unimaginable pressure that they can’t PR spin their way out of

  7. So the 2015 ‘rebuilding’ plan failed?

  8. Need to call on the Board first…

  9. This is the only time I hope they are not successful because there is time for change

  10. Sometimes we just can’t change the inevitable!jus saying

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.