Steve Waugh tells West Indies turn to youths

by Tony Cozier in MELBOURNE
Stabroek News
December 30, 2000

STEVE WAUGH'S advice to the struggling West Indies is the follow Australia's example of the 1980s and turn to youth.

"They're going through tough times like we did in 1985," Australia's captain noted after his team's fourth victory of the series, and 14th in succession, by 352 runs at the MCG yesterday.

"They've just got to stick with a couple of young guys who they think are going to be their future much in the same way as Australia did with Dean Jones, David Boon, Ian Healy and myself and those sort of players," he said. "They've got to select a a few guys and invest in them to see them through the tough times." Waugh based his comments on the impressive batting of 19-year-old Marlon Samuels who arrived as a replacement for the injured Shivnarine Chanderpaul with only seven first-class matches to his name and who had scores of 35 and 3 in his debut Test in Adelaide and topscores of 60 not out and 46 last out here.

"We've got them down and they don't know how to get out of it," he said. "But you can see a guy like Marlon Samuels come in without any (mental) scars on him and plays his natural game and plays really well." "Perhaps they need to go out there and pick some young guys who aren't worried about the circumstances and you'll see what can be achieved.

Waugh, acknowledged as a student of the game's history and traditions, said he was not concerned about the current state of West Indies cricket.

He referred to Samuels who had "come from nowhere" and "done it easy" in his two Tests. "They've got to be more players like him in the Caribbean," Waugh said. "He's certainly not by himself. They won the under-15 World Cup so they've got good young players, and they've got tradition and pride in their cricket."

He made the obvious point that, in the present series, Australia had a powerful mental advantage. "We feel we've got a bit of an edge over some of their batsmen," he said. "When they walk out to the middle, their body language hints that something is not quite right."

Waugh referred to his opposing captain, Jimmy Adams, as "a really nice guy and a good cricketer". But when asked what he would tell him, he replied: "Have a serious drink tonight!" He commented that Adams' batting was "showing the signs of stress".

"He's not thinking clearly with his shot selection and that happened today (when Adams was out for his second 0 of the series," Waugh said. "He'll come back from that but it's certainly a tough time. He's got to try and relax and be positive."

Adams suggests careful planning for future

by Tony Cozier in MELBOURNE

JIMMY ADAMS is worried that West Indies cricket is suffering because not enough attention is being paid to developing young players.

"What concerns me more than anything is that not enough time and effort is being placed on the group between the ages of 13-14 and 19-20 in the Caribbean," the captain said after the team's fourth successive defeat in the series by 352 runs.

Much of the success the West Indies enjoyed through their dominance of world cricket through the 1980s up to the early 1990s had been taken for granted, he asserted.

"They were a lot of things that took place in the Caribbean that were not as a result of planning," he said. "They just happened and people benfitted from them."

He called on administrators to urgently put measures in place to pull West Indies cricket out of its current slump. "I don't think it's going to come along by luck or by wishing good," he said. "People have to sit down and plan to get where we were in the Eighties and where Australia is now."

Adams said the present situation had to be assessed and plans made for the short, mid and long term. "Something has to be put in place to show that you're not just sitting down and talking," he added. "You've got to plan for what we want to get in the next year, what we want in the next five years and then for another five years after that."

The latest defeat was the West Indies' 17th in their last 19 overseas Tests but Adams acknowledged he had no explanation for such an abysmal record away from home. "If I had the answer to that age-old question, I'd be a millionaire," he said. But he did hint that it boiled down to picking the right players.

"One of the most important things is to have players who are flexible or adaptable, if those are the correct words," he said. "You're not going to have what you have at home but you've got to look for players who look forward to that sort of challenge, who revel in things being different and who revel in proving themselves away from home."

"Those are things you've definitely got to look for in a player." Sixteen years ago, similarly heavy losses to the West Indies team under Clive Lloyd in the Caribbean and in Australia led to the tearful resignation of Australian captain Kim Hughes. Adams was asked how he would handled the reverse situation now.

"I've never had this experience in this position but in some cases you learn as you go along," he noted. "Not so much physically but mentally it can get to you but you've got to keep going." "There's six weeks cricket left on this tour and we have to deal with that."

Adams discounted any need for desperate measures, stating that "panic has never done anyone any good". It was simply a matter of careful planning for the future.

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