Someone recently told me that Jimmy Adams, a former West Indies captain, might be returning to West Indies cricket as coach of the West Indies team. If that’s true and Jimmy is in fact contemplating that move, I would beg him to immediately scrub the idea from his mind. Soon after assuming his duties as coach he would find himself at odds with the Director of Cricket and the leadership of the WICB and like Ottis Gibson and Phil Simmons would be fired within a period of two or three years, if that long.

Jimmy can be a great asset to West Indies cricket, not as the coach of the West Indies team, but as the Director of West Indies cricket.

Performance is not only influenced by our history, past experiences and track record but also by our needs, goals and vision of the future. In the appointment of foreign coaches and cricket experts we place too much emphasis on the experts’ promises, goals and strategies and too little on their history, experiences and track record – we do not do a thorough due-diligence.

Consequently, we are bamboozled by the experts’ clever interviews and power point presentations. These things are important but strategic plans by themselves can only take the team or organization so far. Plans and goal charts do not accomplish performance. It is people who breathe life into the team or organization’s vision, plans and mission.

JIMMY 2 Jimmy Adams explaining the finer points

It is competent, well-trained, highly disciplined and highly motivated people who are the key to the organization’s success. How important then are the people skills of our cricket leaders? A US army general once said that the greatest leader in the world could never win a campaign unless he understood and motivated the men he had to lead. This is so true.

To get an inkling of how the foreign cricket expert might relate to West Indies players and coaches we should take a close look at his history, past experiences and track record, as well as his motivational profile – the things that make him tick.

What do we know of our cricket director’s past? Did the WICB check out his international coaching record? Did the board find out why he only stayed with Bangladesh and Middlesex County Club for just a few months?
Did the board check out his relationships with the Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan team members? Did the board find out if he understood and adapted to the culture of the players from Bangladesh and Pakistan?

Did the board do a psychological evaluation? If so, what was his motivational profile? Was it dominated by his need for power and control? This is important because if this is the case his interpersonal and people skills will be poor and his leadership style will take on a strong flavour of autocracy.

The cricket director had some success in South Africa in domestic cricket. But what do we know about his relationship with white players and players of colour? How did he interact with players of colour and how did they interact with him. The answers to some of these questions could be enlightening.

Vince Lombardi an American football coach once said: “Coaches and sports directors who can outline plays on a blackboard are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their players and motivate.”

Where on WICB list of most important priorities is the motivation of the players? The leadership of the WICB appears to be trapped in a mindset that stifles and kills the spirit of its players.

Dr. Rudi Webster (right) chatting with Daren Sammy
Dr. Rudi Webster (right) chatting with Daren Sammy

Its latest attempt to motivate its best batsman, Darren Bravo, whose best days lie ahead of him, by giving him a C instead of a B contract, is a good example of this. Sometimes when people fail or make mistakes it is better to reward than punish, especially if they have talent and ability. The board’s naïve attempt to motivate Darren reminds me of the following story.

There was an old man who lived in a run-down part of town and every afternoon some children would beat their drums and make a tremendous amount of noise in front of his house. This annoyed the old man who devised a clever plan to deal with them. He told them that he would pay them twenty dollars each time they performed for him.

The children returned the next afternoon and performed with gusto. The old man paid them. Next day the old man told them that he only had 15 dollars but would add on the five dollars to their next payment. The children were disappointed but returned the next afternoon. The old man then told them that he only had five dollars and promised to make up the deficit on next day. The children became very angry and left. The old man outsmarted them and they never returned. How well did the old man’s plan kill their spirit? Is the WICB doing the same thing to Darren Bravo?

The WICB must do two things to revive West Indies cricket. First, it must change its structure and leadership. Second, it must replace the current director of cricket with someone like Jimmy Adams.

Will these changes happen? Probably not since the president and vice-president are likely to be re-elected because of the strong support and blind obedience of their fellow directors, and because of the unwillingness of CARICOM prime ministers to speak with one voice and the institution’s weakness and its failure to act as a cohesive body to save West Indies cricket.

In the meantime, the chaos and madness in West Indies cricket will continue and the autocracy of the board will flourish.

By Rudi V. Webster

PHOTO-: Jimmy Admas keeping an eye on his players during nets sessions