'A' minus?
Garner, Logie slam 'A' team's indiscipline
Stabroek News
August 14, 2002

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MANAGER Joel Garner's condemnation of the behaviour of West Indies 'A' team players on their recent tour of England and Canada has been endorsed by coach Gus Logie.

Echoing Garner's sentiment, Logie said it is "something for the West Indies Board (WICB) to address."

"Territories must see that their players conform to standards of dress, of discipline, of general behaviour, whether it is at hotels, or any particular function," he said.

Logie, who played 52 Tests between 1983 and 1991 and is the WICB's youth coach, added the age-old problem of insularity to the indiscipline first cited by his former teammate Garner on the team's return home last week.

"Players did not interact well with each other," Logie told Garth Wattley in an interview in yesterday's Trinidad Express newspaper.

"At times there was a little breakdown in respect for one another and the island rivalry has fuelled that," he said. "A lot of the players are being touted by their islands and, playing with each other, they see themselves as competing with their own players (and) that brings about a certain level of distrust."

It was the fourth overseas tour for the 'A' team, regarded as the feeder for the West Indies Test team. Previous tours were to Sri Lanka, South Africa and Bangladesh and India. Logie acknowledged this was "definitely more challenging" than any of his assignments with previous 'A' and under-19 teams.

"When you go on a tour, the manager or coach needs to set standards, and if the players are not used to that, you are going to have problems," he said.

"One of the basic set-backs was a bit of indiscipline that crept in from time to time," he explained. "We had to try and nip things in the bud before they got out of hand. That was a bit worrying."

Nearly half of the team, captained by opening batsman Daren Ganga, had played Tests or one-day internationals. But Logie admitted that such experience did not necessarily work in the team's favour. "We had established a system of leaders within the team," he noted. "Unfor-tunately, that broke down. We had to review that."

Asked about the future prospects for the West Indies team on evidence of this tour, Logie responded: "I am always optimistic. There is nothing that can beat proper preparation."

But he added a cautionary proviso. "If the players do not buy into the philosophies, we'll have to rethink the selection process," he said. "Players may feel there is no line drawn at all and anything goes. They must be responsible enough to know these are the norms of the team and I have to conform."

On the actual cricket, Logie described it as a "tour of two halves".

The more positive half was in England where the team played first-class and one-day matches against counties and against other touring teams, Sri Lanka and India.

He referred to left-hander Devon Smith's highest first-class score of 181 against Lancashire, fast bowler Jermaine Lawson's best first-class return of six for 76 against India at Arundel and the "very consistent" batting of 19-year-old Dwayne Bravo towards the end in England as "very positive".

He also pointed out that Ganga had two back-to-back first class hundreds.

But Logie conceded standards dropped on the final leg in Toronto, where some players had relatives and where the annual Caribana celebrations were in progress.

"There was a certain loss of focus," he said. "They themselves would be the first to put their hands up and say they did not fare very well."

The team drew their two-day match against the Canadians and were beaten 2-1 in the One-day series.