‘Do the little things right’- Sir Wes to cricketers
By Avenash Ramzan
‘Do the little things right.’ That’s the advice to cricketers from former West Indies fast bowler, Sir Wesley Winfield Hall.
The legendary speedster is urging cricketers to practice the little things well, get the basics right, change the things that can be changed and worry less about those that cannot be changed.
He was at the time delivering feature remarks at the Rotary Club of Georgetown’s World Understanding Dinner in the Savannah Suite of the Pegasus Hotel last Friday.
“When I was playing cricket, I changed the things I could change. I couldn’t make an umpire give out anybody so sometimes I didn’t worry to apply field to them. But if I could change something I will change it. You could change your attitude, you could change your mind, and you have to understand, as Sir Frank (Worrell) always told us, that the best with a bad attitude is no longer the best,” the Barbadian, who captured 192 wickets from 48 Tests between 1958 and 1969, pointed out.
Sir Wes, who had an outstanding Test bowling average of 26, said these were lessons he had to learn from an early age, in order to progress in the game.
“And I want you know that if you do that, if cricketers learn to do the little things well it will serve them a lot better later on. That’s why you see a lot of players might look good at school, look good in the trials at Bourda, but when they get into the heat of battle they may not make it,” he asserted.
“They may not make it because they haven’t practiced the little things well. When I say the little things, if you’re a batsman you have to learn to occupy the crease- don’t make a lot of runs in the pavillion. Make your runs out there by occupying the crease. You also must learn how to call, and stop running out people because if you call yes, no or wait he (the non-striker) will understand. If you’re batting you learn to rotate the strike.”
“When you’re bowling you have to observe this: that you’re going to apply pressure, and then you build pressure and then you take wickets. It is as simple as that. Apply pressure to the batsman, build pressure and you’ll find you’ll take some wickets.”
Sir Wes, who had a stellar career, which yielded 546 wickets at 26.14 from 170 First-Class games between 1955 and 1971, further stated that one of the “unfortunate things in Test cricket” is witnessing a West Indian fast bowler uprooting the stumps, only for the umpire to signal no-ball.
“Why is he bowling no-balls? He’s bowling no-balls because he’s practicing bowling no-balls. He’s bowling from 20 in the nets instead of 22, and so he can’t get out of the habit. So I’m saying to you that we need to do the little things right,” Sir Wes reiterated.
He continued, “For instance, my grandmother used to tell me that practice makes perfect, but Wes is telling you this evening that not only does practice makes perfect, but you have to practice the right thing, because if you practice the wrong thing, you’ll end up being perfectly wrong.”