Harpy Eagles’ coach aims to strike balance between success and development

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By Akeem Greene

akeem@newsroom.gy

The ultimate aim in sport is to win, whether at the team or individual level.

However, at times, a loss can be a bigger win since it teaches lessons of how to rebound.

Teams, whose success rate is consistent, usually are great planners and certainly not sore losers.

Cricket West Indies introduced the Professional Cricket League (PCL) in 2014, and the then Guyana Jaguars rose to the top of the ladder after being at the lower end of the scale in the preceding years.

For five seasons, it was all Guyana, until the abrupt end to the 2019-2020 season due to the pandemic and then the shortened 2022 season.

The writings were on the wall that success would become harder as key players started to be drafted into the West Indies set-up.

The core group that brought success was weakened.

Ryan Hercules, who has moved up the rank from Assistant to Head Coach, is plotting a course to not just regain the Four-Day title, but also sustain dominance by developing younger players.

After the 2km fitness test was affected by rain, the players took the opportunity to be screened by the physiotherapists (Photo: Avidesh Narine)

Speaking after a rained-out fitness session at the National Track and Field Facility, West Coast Demerara, on Wednesday morning, Hercules highlighted the need for a balance between success and development.

“We can get back to winning ways. If we are looking to develop players as well, we must have a balance in terms of what we are looking for in a franchise. If you want to get back to winning habits, you must have a balance,” Hercules expressed in an interview with News Room Sport.

“If you are looking for development, there might be at one point where you might lose a few games, but you are looking to develop players along the line. One of my aims is that if you get players in the West Indies set-up, whether it be Senior, A-team, Under-19, or Developmental teams, I think that is a good aim for the young guys.”

He added, “So, you might be losing a few games here and there, but you must look at the players’ development as getting guys back in the West Indies set-up could be a very good thing for Guyana.”

His philosophy could be tested this season when the Regional Four-Day Championship starts on February 1, as it will clash with a two-Test tour to Zimbabwe followed by a full tour to South Africa.

As has been the growing case, key players from his arsenal are expected to miss some matches due to international duties.

But the Head Coach felt it was the “perfect opportunity” for young guys to step up and show their worth, and “we will go out and play hard cricket like any other day.”

Looking ahead, Head Coach Ryan Hercules wants to find the right balance between talent exposure and success

Improvement in fitness

On Tuesday, players undertook the required Yo-Yo test with the aim of reaching the minimum mark of 40. After some players encountered difficulties reaching that mark last year, Hercules indicated there was a great improvement this time around.

News Room Sport was able to confirm a lot of players surpassed the mark and some even reached as high as 60 during the test.

According to the coach, the improvement is linked to the constant tests being conducted by Cricket West Indies throughout the year as the players underwent a test just after the Super50 in November, and there are tests during regional tournaments.

“There are more of the fitness tests being done and it helps because you do more tests and the levels go up a bit and the guys know how to plan to and know to improve on their weaknesses.”

As they hope for better weather to begin on-field preparations with two warm-up matches from January 11, Hercules stressed they will continue to work on fitness.

On Thursday, there is expected to be a pool session at the National Aquatic Centre, Liliendaal.

The last Super50 Cup where Guyana Harpy Eagles stumbled in the semi-finals was Hercules first outing as Head Coach.

The culture he is working to create is a comfortable environment where there is a balance to relaxation, but also an understanding by the players to work hard and hopefully, enjoy success together.

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