Simmons advocates for full-time Sport Psychologist with West Indies team
Time and time again, the West Indies cricket team, predominantly the batsmen, have been monotonous in the errors of judgment they make in the middle.
It begs the question, is it more a technical issue or a mental one?
Speaking a virtual press briefing on Tuesday, Head Coach Phil Simmons said the idea of a full-time Sport Psychologist with the team is one that should be considered.
“I think in each sport at the international level it is more about above the shoulder than below the shoulder; I think some places it works [full-time team Psychologist] and some places it doesn’t and I think it is something we may have to get back to implement, not just at this level but a lot lower than when they come here.”
He added, “Sometimes when they come here [senior level] you are set in ways mentally, so, we need to address that from a lower level coming up.”
In an effort to deal with the mental toll of the new norms associated with international cricket, Cricket West Indies (CWI), Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams, had indicated in December 2020, that the side travelled to Bangladesh with a Sport Psychologist.
It is understood that currently, the Psychologist is not with the team full-time, but works remotely and players do have access.
In the past, Dr. Rudi Webster has worked with the team and the question at the briefing was premised on whether the likes of him or others should be with the team on all tours and camps.
Consist batting flops
Over the weekend, West Indies suffered another embarrassing blow, losing 1-2 to Ireland in a One-Day International Series played in Jamaica.
This is off the heels of a 3-0 thrashing in Pakistan and a horrendous title defence at the World T20 held in the United Arab Emirates. In the midst of all this, the Test side got thumped 2-0 in Sri Lanka.
White-ball captain Kieron Pollard was the first to admit after the painful defeat to Ireland on Sunday that the team has “problems with batting.”
Simmons was also not short of words on the recurring issues with the team’s batting: “Our batting quality is not there, our thinking when we are batting is not there and it comes from lower-down. If you are coming into a squad and you are averaging 30s, and you come up to the top level, you are not going to average 40 and 50.
The holistic approach means all through the ranks, even from the Under-19s we have to look at preparing people to play at the international level.”
West Indies are currently in Barbados preparing to face England in five Twenty20 Internationals in the build-up to the World T20 later this year, where the two-time champions have to go through the qualifying rounds.
They also had to qualify for the 2019 50-over World Cup and while they currently sit sixth on the ICC Super League, which will be used as a qualifier for the 2023 World Cup in India, current form and recent history hint they could have to go through the qualifying tournament.