Cricketers taking their partners on tour

What the people say about...
By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
December 11, 2000

Should spouses accompany their cricketing husbands on overseas tours? This is the question we posed to the man/woman-in-the-street this week. Their views follow:

Dahana Persaud - private sector employee: `If I had a husband or boyfriend who was a cricketer definitely I would want to be with him on any tour. If not all the time, which might not be possible, I would want to be with him on tours sometimes. The reasons are many. The same way we like our men around us to give us advice, moral support and to be there when things are not going in our favour it is the same with men. I would like to be there for him as much as possible. Coaches and colleagues are there but nothing is better than having your mate around to confide in. Men also tend to get carried away very quickly by the sight of a pretty and appealing face. In most cases when they are alone for long periods they tend to get distracted and may take chances in encouraging affairs. Some may argue that a spouse or girlfriend's presence may get him distracted. I do not believe that. If she really has his welfare at heart she will ensure that he gets down to the business of cricket and be more focused on the game.'

Abiola Harry - housewife: `Accompanying husbands on tours should depend on the individual. The spouses should have the choice as travelling would have its advantages and disadvantages. If a man feels that he cannot perform well without his wife then he should be given the choice to have his wife accompany him. On the other hand some men may be preoccupied with the comforts of their wives and may not be able to concentrate on the game in hand. Yet being on tour for several months having husbands and wives apart may be asking too much of each other. So the choice should be left to the individual cricketer.'

Juanita Perry - cashier: `I don't think it is a good idea because the men will be preoccupied with the welfare of their wives on the tour. Because of that they would not be able to concentrate fully on the game. Their attention will be divided. Our downfall right now is not because our cricketers do not have their partners accompanying them. I think the problems are a combination of many things which range from a lack of commitment to improving cricket from the school level right up. Since the departure of our cricketing greats our cricket administration has not been able to keep up with recent developments in technology and to use it effectively in training. That basically is one of the main problems.'

Sydney David - private sector employee: `When cricketers are at work their wives or girlfriends should stay home. They are going to work not on holiday and they should not be distracted. When they are playing at home, well that is a different story. The West Indies current poor performance is not due to the fact that their partners have not accompanied them, it is due to other factors such as not being psychologically prepared and this is also due in part to problems of administration. I also believe that our cricketers are still being too complacent. I also think that it is time the selectors pick a West Indies team even if all the best players come from one island. We should put our best out there and forget about how many countries are represented. The criteria for selection should be performance. Wives being there or not being there is the least of the problems.'

Wilton Conliffe - environmental health engineer/CARICOM national: `Wives should accompany their cricketing husbands on tours. They would play an important part in relaxation and I don't think that they would interfere with the performance of the cricketer or be a distraction. However, I don't think that wives are the current problem. I also don't think that the West Indies current poor performance is complacency. It is just psychological. They need more psychological training. There is also a problem of organisation in the game of cricket in the region as well. Other countries are better organised from the grassroot level including Australia, South Africa, England and even Zimbabwe. Basically those countries select the best.'

Robert Sam - businessman: `The lives of the cricketers should be made as natural and normal as possible as they are away from home for as long as six to eight months a year sometimes. Even if they are with them for a period you would not expect them to be away from each other without joining each other somewhere along the tour. It is not to say that they are in a war situation. How else do you expect them to think normal. Anyway the decline in West Indies cricket that we now see is due to years of neglect. This is not the generation that will transform the team's current performance. We have not reached the stage of modern cricket. We still have cricketers who can only bowl and not bat or field. The modern cricketer can bat, bowl, field and do everything so that when one fails to score or make the grade another picks up. Cricket today is technology and statistics. We are still not using technology in cricket as South Africa and other cricketing nations have done. Generally our cricketers are not up to standard. We take a man who has just had five first class matches and we send him to represent the West Indies as against others from Australia or other cricketing nations who have had just about 30 to 40 matches at least in one season. The most matches a player in the West Indies gets is ten matches in one season. That is not good enough. The advantage that our great cricketers had was playing county cricket. Now that the opportunity may not be there it is time that the West Indies Cricket Board introduced more first class matches.'

Cranston Humphrey - senior secondary student: `I am pretty sure that if a couple agree that the partner should accompany a cricketer on tour it will not affect his performance negatively. It should enhance his performance as he will get a certain amount of satisfaction knowing his wife is there to give moral and emotional support during victories and losses.'

Shiv Singh - UG student: `Definitely not. First of all where were the wives of such greats as Garfield Sobers and others at the time when the West Indies was wreaking havoc among other cricketing nations? Taking their wives or girlfriends along will only cause them to be distracted in the game. Look at Brian Lara for instance. Look at his performance. He has a girlfriend on tour with him right now. He just cannot concentrate. He is rated among the best but something is now definitely wrong with him as he just cannot seem to get it right. I think he should have been dropped a long time ago. His performance and current behaviour on the tour just reinforce what I think.'

Ravin Ramsuran - UG student: `Wives or girlfriends should not accompany cricketers on tour. Cricket is a game of dedication and cricketers should not be distracted. Once their partners are around them you will find that the team members will have additional responsibilities. Because of their partners they may arrive late for practice and the excuses I am sure will be many. Right now we need a team with the confidence to meet the other teams head on. Our team has been failing because of a lack of exposure. We have a limited number of regional first class games and it is not enough compared to the number played by other cricketing nations.'

Richard Haniff - UG student: `Cricket is a game of mental toughness and as such I don't believe that wives or girlfriends should accompany our cricketers on tours. It is also a matter of discipline and they have to remember that the game of Test cricket is a professional pursuit. The current problem with the team is that they are just not getting specialist coaching. One coach is not enough. The cricketers need to be exposed to every skill in every department. Our old strategy of specialist bowlers and specialist batsmen is no longer working. Also our men lack self-confidence so they need a lot of psychological boost. Our selectors and administrators are also afraid of experimenting and taking risks. The teams doing just that are advancing, even Zimbabwe.'

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