Equipping our leaders of tomorrow

Across the Board
Stabroek News
November 24, 2002

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DISCUSSIONS on West Indies cricket have moved away from the performance of our side on the field in the last few weeks and have switched to the hot topic of identifying a successor for Carl Hooper when he makes his departure from the international game.

Sorry, but ACROSS THE BOARD is not about to get into the debate about whether Ridley Jacobs should captain the side to Bangladesh or who will be the long-term West Indies captain. We give our full support to the selection panel, chaired by Sir Vivian Richards. What we can say is that identifying future leaders for West Indies cricket is not something we are taking lightly.

Two weekends ago, the directors of the West Indies Cricket Board at their meeting in Trinidad gave their approval for the development of a leadership-training programme that would assist in identifying future leaders for the senior team as well as all representative West Indies teams early and equip them.

The idea is to get some of our players who show the potential to be future leaders because the ability to lead does not come naturally for everyone and we will have to work with the players to enhance their leadership skills.

Our president, Rev. Wes Hall, a West Indies cricket icon, has already indicated that the high pressure atmosphere of an international match, whether Test or limited-overs international, can be quite taxing for an ordinary player, let alone the captain. And he would know.

On top of trying to maintain his own form in the game and strategising against his opponents, an international cricket captain also has to deal with doing promotions for team sponsors, attending media interviews, and meeting with the International Cricket Council match referee. It's a lot of pressure.

Cricket history is replete with players who have bowed out of the job of captaincy because of the enormity of the responsibility placed on their shoulders, particularly when leading a team like West Indies that has a demanding public.

Contrary to popular belief though, leaders are not all born. But a willingness to learn coupled with the right training can help develop any individual into a skilful leader - one who is capable of having the right influence on his team.

This leadership-training programme will not be so much about cricket. In other words, it will not all be about field placings and strategy. It will be about reinforcing things like "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" (read John C. Maxwell's book of the same name).

Some of the characteristics we will try to emphasise in these budding leaders will be: how leaders can give confidence to others; how it takes a leader to raise a leader; how a leader is one who can find ways to win; how a leader must make sacrifices if he wants to achieve; how people will only buy into a vision if they believe in the leader among other topics.

This leadership-training programme is another essential element on the road to West Indies becoming the world leader in the game once more. We acknowledge the lack of planning for the future has in the past crippled West Indies cricket and we have to be pro-active in our approach if we are going to make sure it does not happen again.

We want to have a proper leadership-training programme in place and working so that at any time we identify leaders for our teams they can have available the necessary counselling and mentoring that will help them to perform better in the job.

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