Canada experience mirrors Windies problems
- says Canadian coach Gus Logie
Stabroek News
March 25, 2003

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Gus Logie has put his name forward to be the next coach of West Indies. And should the West Indies Cricket Board see it fit to appoint him, he will consider his recent stint with Canada at the ICC World Cup in South Africa to have been good preparation. At least in dealing with conflict.

Logie, 42, the former West Indies middle order batsman and Trinidad and Tobago captain and a coach attached to the West Indies Cricket Board was seconded by his employers to the Canadian team amid controversy.

Logie was replacing Australian Jeff Thomas, whose sacking only became public knowledge after it became known that Logie was to replace him. It was not a decision which was well received by the Canadian players, and Logie himself expressed reservations to the WICB about taking up the post in the circumstances.

And Logie told the Express last week, that the wounds opened by that controversy did not heal easily in South Africa.

"I think I've learned a lot, in terms of dealing with conflict," Logie says.

"It was a challenging experience. It's no secret before I left here all the political wranglings, or the controversial decisions that were made surrounding the coach. There was going to be some fallout, I expected that."

What he did not quite expect, were some of the attitudes his charges-many of them of West Indian origin-had to the cricket.

"Their whole idea of coming to the World Cup was that we cannot win anything, we are here to enjoy ourselves and I think you, trying to show them a different way and a professional approach to their cricket was always going to be difficult," Logie says.

"We got the results that we deserved in the end. Personally, I felt we could have done a bit better."

He explains.

"They kept referring back to the fact that they had a lot of fun in terms of their cricket. That means that their preparation took second place. A perfect example, you would have a training session and the captain would see it fit to play golf. Or you would be in a situation where you were going to have a meeting and they feel that something else came up and the meeting could take second place.

"This is not a condemnation of players," Logie stresses, "these are things they were used to on previous tours."

Canada's good start seemed to send the wrong message to the players, Logie reckons.

"After they won the first game (against Test-playing Bangladesh), I think they felt that was good enough. Obviously they were on cloud nine. They were on cloud nine for quite a while until the crushing defeat against Sri Lanka which would have brought them down to earth...Something like that had to happen for them to pick themselves up and they certainly did."

John Davison, Canada's Australian- bred professional with South Australia, set a new World Cup record for the fastest century in the match against West Indies.

To Logie, that effort summed up the differences of approach within the ranks.

"He knew what he was about and wanted to do well for his own personal being in terms of his contract renewal in South Australia and he did that," he says of Davison. "It's a pity so many of the other players did not follow his lead."

Instead, the coach lamented that the earnest effort only came after the Sri Lanka embarrassment when Canada were dismissed for a World Cup record low of 36.

"They went out after that trying not to be humiliated again and of course we saw some individual brilliance. And at the end of the tournament, they would have left South Africa feeling a bit better about themselves, but even so, regretting that they didn't put in that kind of effort before."

Like his Canadian side, the West Indies left the World Cup early, also with many regrets.

Having been a part of the Caribbean system as a coach since 1995, Logie is perhaps more aware than most of the problems that will face Roger Harper's successor with the senior team. The Canada experience mirrored some of those difficulties.

And Logie admits to not initially setting his sights on the job when the WICB announced they were accepting applications for the coaching job.

"I must admit, when I heard that Roger had not applied, that's when I did," he says. But he adds, "I always say that I like challenges. And I see it as a challenge."

So if chosen, what does he feel he can bring to the job that his friend Harper could not?

"If I look over the years at what I've been able to do with the youth teams in the West Indies and the teams I've been involved with, I've always tried to give the best of myself to the players, to give the best of myself to whatever I'm doing, and at the end of the day, that's all I can ask for.

"I can also ask in return of the players to give of their best. And I think if we understand that, something could happen."

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