Hoad quits Windies in frustration
--cites attitude problem in team

By Tony Cozier
Stabroek News
May 23, 2001

JOE HOAD has quit his post as psychologist to the West Indies cricket team, noting that its "main problem is attitude".

Hoad, 64, Barbados born and Australia based and trained, joined the team in Australia in December at the request of then captain Jimmy Adams after the West Indies had been beaten by an innings in the first two Tests.

Tendering his resignation to West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) chief executive Gregory Shillingford, Hoad said he was grateful for the chance to be involved with West Indies cricket that is "dear to his heart".

But he indicated that frustration in dealings with manager Ricky Skerritt, coach Roger Harper and some of the players prompted his decision.

"Most of the current players believe that, as they have been chosen for the West Indies team, they are already the best they can be," Hoad said yesterday while preparing his report on the recent home series against South Africa for the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

"If they would accept that the current team is at the bottom of the cricket ladder, with a little more effort on their part, we could climb back to our rightful position near the top," he added. "But they do not seem to mind whether they win or lose."

Hoad said practice sessions, overall fitness, diet and discipline needed to be improved.

"If the opposing team is stronger than the team I'm coaching, I have no problem losing but losing the same way over and over disgusts me," he said. "Roger's idea is that we are a young team in a transition period and we must be patient if we want results but I consider that a negative outlook and can't agree to it."

He accepted comments that the West Indies did not have players of the calibre of Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts and Malcolm Marshall at present. But he identified Ramnaresh Sarwan, Marlon Samuels, Leon Garrick, Wavell Hinds and Ricardo Powell as young players with "potential for all to see".

"We will not develop these players unless we change our attitude and institute a code of discipline with substantial fines for breaking curfews, playing poor shots and dropping catches," he warned.

While there was not a lot of potential at present among the bowlers, they would "improve immensely" by sticking to the principles of length, line and patience, Hoad said.

He charged that the fitness level of some of the players was "very low" and said that, while trainer Ronald Rogers was doing a very good job, even the threat of missing out on the forthcoming tour of Zimbabwe is they fail a fitness test "has not made anyone change his commitment".

Hoad recommended the introduction of a nutritionist to monitor the players' diet and an expert in biomechanics to analyse details of their body movements.

"For some reason, no diets have been tailored for the players' nutritional needs," he noted. "It is a known fact that some fats found in chicken skin and fried foods slow down body movement."

Hoad said his job as psychologist was to teach techniques of coping with stress, visualising winning performances and setting specific goals, such as accurately bowling a slower ball by a certain date.

But this had become "very difficult" when Skerritt advised the players that it was not compulsory for them to attend his sessions.

What had dissatified him most was when he took over the pre-series camp in Port-of-Spain in the absence of Harper.

He found that one bowler could only hit a target the size of a bathmat once in 20 tries and the best score was nine out of 20. When the batsmen were bowled, they "just laughed", reassembled the stumps and continued batting.

When Hoad introduced 20 push-ups as discipline for a batsman who was bowled and a bowler who delivered down the leg-side, he said he was told by one player that the days of slavery are over.

Hoad is a son of Teddy Hoad, who played four Tests for the West Indies in the 1930s, and is a former Caribbean table-tennis and Barbados darts champion. Resident in Australia with his family for the past 25 years, he is in Barbados until May 30.

While here he had conducted sessions with local table-tennis players. For his next assignment, he has had discussions with the Canadian Cricket Association about joining their team for the ICC Trophy tournament in Toronto in July and with table-tennis officials in Dubai where he has already coached. Ends.