'No lack of talent in the Caribbean'

It's just the matter of guiding the guys in the right direction: Desmond Haynes

Desmond Haynes had played a meaty role in propelling West Indies to the pinnacle of world cricket in the 80s, forming a formidable opening combination with Gordon Greendige. Since those heydays, the Caribbean cricket has been on a perennial slide save a few all too brief sparks.

Like any proud West Indian, Haynes too might have pained to see that fall. But the Bajan hoped that West Indies’ series-levelling effort in the recent Test series against England would give cricket in the Caribbean a second wind.

“A lot of guys in the team have been playing over the last couple of years, and never really experienced winning Test matches,” began Haynes during an interaction.

“I think when I was playing for West Indies, there were a lot of guys in our team who did not know about ‘losing’ a Test match. I’m happy that we have now beaten England and won a Test match against one of the top nations — they are still a very good side. So, all the young kids will have the belief that they can win. It’s very important to win Test matches. They won that Test match without serious contribution from Chanderpaul. For a lot of the youngsters in the side now, the win is going to make them stronger in their belief,” Haynes, brand ambassador of Caribbean Premier League side Barbados Tridents, said.

Haynes cited the example of the 22-year-old Kraig Brathwaite, who made a hundred at Grenada. Praising Brathwaite for his composure, Haynes said the opener could be a long-term prospect for the West Indies. “I had the privilege of working with Brathwaite. I like his mental approach. He is very much a Test match cricketer, and hopefully he will lead WI cricket one day. He likes to stick around the crease for a long time, avoid risks and it has been successful for him. Hopefully, such success will keep him motivated.”

One sore point of the series against England was the underwhelming performance of Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Chanderpaul failed to score even a fifty in that series. At 40, the Guyanese left-hander is at the last phase of his career. But Haynes believed that there was enough talent in the Caribbean to step in to Chanderpaul’s space.

“There are still a lot of young players at the moment. When Viv (Richards) retired, we said there was nobody to replace him. When Brian Lara retired, we said there is nobody to replace him. As long as we are playing cricket and we are competitive, people will come in and see the opportunity, and if they are determined and have the ability, they will be successful. May be not as successful as a Chanderpaul … because he has done a really fantastic job for West Indies. He has made a significant contribution to our cricket.

But there is a time when you have to step aside and let cricket continue. I am sure, a youngster in the Caribbean will replace Chanderpaul and will be hoping to be just as good.”

The question also drew Haynes’ attention to the talent management in West Indies. “I don’t think West Indies are strong enough to have three different teams. What we need to do is to focus on the guys who have the ability — if you have that, you can play any form of the game. I think it’s just a matter of how you approach your innings according to the nature of the games. There are a lot of guys who play in Twenty20s but are totally different when playing a four-day match. It’s just a matter of guiding them in the right direction.”

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