Harper wants more emphasis on mental aspect of Windies cricket
Guyana Chronicle
August 24, 2004

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) - Former West Indies coach Roger Harper believes that more emphasis needs to be paid to the mental aspect of West Indies cricket.

Harper, who now serves as head coach of the Shell Cricket Academy, told CMC Sports that West Indies cricket did not suffer from lack of ability, as much as it did from lack of mental application.

“That is one of our greatest weaknesses, there is no doubt about it,” remarked Harper, who served as West Indies senior coach between 2000 and 2003. “You only have to look at some of our performances at the international level.”

West Indies recently lost the four-Test series against England 0-4 and were roundly condemned for their irresponsible cricket and lack of application.

“It is not in the talent area that we fall down, but it is in some of the decisions that we make as players on the field,” Harper, the former Guyanese and West Indies all-rounder explained. “I think we have to train players better in that area from earlier.”

Harper, who took over at the Shell Academy last year, was pleased with the progress of the young players at the Grenada-based institution.

He stressed that the classroom aspect of the institution was important, but he believed that competitive tour matches also had a huge role to play in the young players’ development.

“I think teaching is one thing, but at the end of the day you have to convert the learning into performance and that is what we want to see,”

Harper asserted. “You are better able to assess them and deal with things when you see them in competitive situations.”

Harper noted on the brief tour of Barbados he had seen glimpses of performances that underlined the value of competitive match situations.

“It was an eight-week residential programme and this two-week extension tour is part of the competitive phase of the programme and I think as the tour has progressed the performances have gotten better and I think they are beginning to show that they are capable.”