Logie Not Good Enough
Thu, Dec 4, '03
Experts and analysts were recently up in arms over the hell for leather strategy the West Indies were utilizing in the recent test series in Zimbabwe. It did seem as though the batsmen were just being overly careless until no less a person that the head coach revealed that it was the team?s strategy to score quickly.
Gus Logie revealed to Tony Cozier that the hitherto inexplicable reckless batting of the Windies was an effort to emulate the fast-paced Australia scoring rate in Test cricket.
This without question highlights Logie's ineptitude as a coach. As a fan of West Indies cricket who aches when the team loses it hurts very badly to hear such nonsense from the coach.
Any layman knows that with the type of batsmen the West Indies has, to attempt such an irrational policy would lead to the inevitable crumbling of the entire team. This may be easy to illustrate in hindsight but for a coach with two full series behind his back he should have known his players better and avoid such a catastrophic policy.
It is giving the already reckless-prone batsmen a license to be even more irresponsible and hasty. The results the team reaped, particularly in the first Test could have been predicted by anyone with half a cricketing brain.
Examine, if you will, the two batting line-ups that Logie would have compared and then in the end was deluded enough to think that the West Indies batsmen were still capable of equaling the Australians.
The seven Aussies batsmen have played a total of 445 matches, scored 30,633 runs, mastered 98 centuries and 131 fifties. Their combined average is an astounding 51.83 with Justin Langer being the only one under 45, but still at an above par 44.88. Their average age is 32.57 with the youngest being vice captain Ponting at 29 years.
The West Indies on the other hand have played 348 matches, scored 22,236 runs, made 42 centuries and 125 fifties. Their average is 36.33 with their lowest being Daren Ganga's 25.61. Their average age is 28.14 but with five of their top six batsmen all under 30, four under 25.
However when Lara's statistics are extricated then a truer picture is presented. Without Lara they have played 250 Tests, scored 13,610 runs, scored 20 centuries and 84 fifties.
How the coach could have compared these statistics and concluded that the West Indies batsmen could have maintained the lethal run rate of the Aussies is beyond logic. How he could have assessed the styles, techniques and approaches of the two groups of batsmen and still plot an Aussie game plan for the West Indies is further beyond reason.
The Australians are shrewd, seasoned campaigners, who the experts agree are ruthless and clinical in executing their game plan. Their highly intuitive coach John Buchanan not only perfects their techniques, but works constantly on improvement. Their superiority is illustrated most by batting genius Adam Gilchrist who averages a phenomenal 60.25 all the way down at number 7.
The Australians do not only score runs in boundaries but are very keen on fighting for singles at every chance.
The West Indies, have a mere one batsman with an above 50 average (Lara 51.65) and only one other over 40 (Shivnarine Chanderpaul 43.46).
With both openers prone to a stagnant front foot, Ganga's preference and style of being conservative in run production and Sarwan's need to pace his innings how could the coach urge these youngsters to flay the Zimbabweans for more than four runs an over as the stated policy of how they approach the game.
Should he not have been coaching them to work hard for the singles and twos? To preserve their wickets and get in their eye and in top shape with the crucial South African tour ahead? With the majority of them being already aggressive in nature the coach ought to have been getting his boys to toughen themselves and work the bowling into the ground. Knowing that the fours and sixes would come he should have been working on getting them to be complete batsmen meaning those who score in smaller digits as well.
Instead Logie ignored their batting styles and known limitations and essentially gave them licenses to slog.
Sure Wavell Hinds came off by scoring two big half centuries but the manner in which he got out ? throwing it away - on both occasions was a sight that caused heartache. And had Lara not pull up a magical innings in the second test Lord knows what else could have gone wrong.
Coach Logie tried to explain it away in retrospect. "Maybe we're a bit ahead of ourselves at this point in time with the players that we have," Logie offered almost apologetically after the plan was revealed as an abominable failure. Finally the coach speaks an iota of sense.
"The question," he said, "is whether the players in this team have the confidence levels and the maturity and discipline to be realistically expected to score in excess of four runs an over..."
Logie has been in charge of the team for seven months now and if he does not know that his batsmen clearly have not reached that level at which they can even dream of emulating the Australian scoring rate then he is not worth his salt as even a second rate coach.
Logie has displayed an amateur ineptitude for the task of guiding the boys, he is clearly out of his league. Had Logie been the coach of India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka he would have long been queuing up in the unemployment line.
We must not forget though that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) had clearly signaled this to the public by its original intention of hiring the Aussie coach Bennett King and have Gus Logie understudy him for a few years, fine tuning his skills and then possibly take over. After that option was forced down the drain by the non-accepting King in a public relations disaster for the WICB, Logie was thrust into the top job.
Now he has dramatically proven that we cannot seriously look to him to guide the boys back to the top. A more perceptive brain, understanding mind and cunning and keen tactician is needed. Logie is a warm and charming fellow but he has not yet become the coach that the West Indies team needs at this moment on its path to the top.
If president Teddy Griffith is serious about getting the Windies back to the top bracket in the next three years then he needs to be proactive and reconsider Logie's abilities, or rather the lack of them.