'It Won't Happen Again'

Thu, May 5, '05


interviews Xavier Marshall makes a promise to MICHELLE McDONALD

Xavier Marshall's debut in the VB one-day series in Australia was largely unsuccessful so the opening batsman returned to the Caribbean with big plans to join the Jamaica national team and add some runs to his name.

After three away matches, however, all he did was add to a lingering reputation for indiscipline. This resulted in him being suspended for the Round Nine match against Barbados, and being put on probation for the rest of the Carib Beer series. He never played another match for the season.

During these later rounds, Xavier Marshall spoke with me about the Australia experience and working with new coach Bennett King; what it's like being a rookie in the Jamaica squad after being a senior in the U-19 team, some of the acts which got him in hot water with the team's management, and how he is trying to avoid any repeat of such incidents in order to make a career as an international cricketer.

When did you know you were going to make your ODI debut in Australia?

I heard it the second week after reaching Australia that I was going to play, when Ryan Hinds got injured and he was sent home. I was thinking that I was there before Pow [Ricardo Powell] come so I would get a game before Powell. So said, so done.

How did you prepare your mind for that game?

I was pretty happy. I was planning to go out there if I get a bat - I was hoping I would bat at number three though because I batted three in the practice matches ? anyway, I went at five and I was hoping that when I got a bat I would try to concentrate and consolidate.

What was it like facing the first ball?

It was great. My middle name is Melbourne, you know that, and I made my debut at Melbourne so it was great facing the first ball with Brian as well. I enjoyed it.

Disappointed that you only made five?

Not really disappointed because I think I got overconfident playing that shot but I could do more. I think I could do more. But it's a lesson for me. Whenever I get the opportunity, try to make something of it. It was good for me. Good experience.

What was it like being around the West Indies team, the players? A different environment from U-19?

Totally different environment. You have fellows like Brian, Shiv and those senior players...Gayle. I think I moved well with them. I enjoyed playing with them.

Was it a more disciplined environment?

Yes, I think so. I think it was more organized, more disciplined more than what I'm used to.

Did you fit in alright?

Yes, I think so.

So you've come back into the Jamaica team. Talk about the matches you played in so far.

In the first match in St Maarten, I scored 60-odd, but I think I could have gotten a hundred. I was a bit impatient. The second one was rained out in Guyana. Then in Trinidad, in the first innings, I scored 45.

You're not very satisfied with that performance.

No I wasn't satisfied. I should have got a hundred in St Maarten and in Trinidad as well. I gave away my hand. I want to get a hundred everytime I go out to bat, especially if I get a start.

You weren't given the opportunity to play in this match. Tell us the circumstances surrounding that.

I made some mistakes by certain words that I used in front of the players and I think I am getting over it. I sit down and talk with couple of the players just to know how they stay, as a person. You cannot treat one person as how you treat somebody else. I just have to work with it.

When you say the words that you used, what kind of words you talking about?

Some indecent language.

You mean curse; the same thing that we spoke about last time. But you recognize that it is a problem?

Yes, because most of the players ? and I speak on top of my voice sometimes too ? they don't like it. They say that I'm the smallest one, I shouldn't be shouting, so I realize that. I told you that before, I'm going to work with it. I'm just going to bite what they say, just hold my lip tight.

You were coming out of U-19 where you were a senior player in the Jamaica team. How difficult was the adjustment to move from that situation where you were the star and the senior one, to this situation where you still have to wait your turn?

That's life. You have ups and downs in life. I think I'm under a bit of pressure, but not much. I can cope with it because I have people talking to me. I have a psychologist speaking to me.

Do you mean the Jamaica team psychologist?

Yes, and I have one for myself as well.

Is this something arranged by the Jamaica Cricket Association?

No, it was arranged by Mr Pat Rousseau.

What involvement do you have with him?

He is the manager for me, you could say. He takes care of anything outside of cricket. He's a good man.

You've no doubt heard about other players from St Ann who have fallen by the wayside?

Yes, players like Leon [Garrick] and [Franklin] Rose. I don't want to follow those guys footsteps even though I don't know why they're not playing but everybody is saying the same thing, it's because of discipline so I'm trying hard not to go in that direction.

How did your mother take the news that you were suspended for this match?

She was a bit shocked but I think she got over it. She called me even today while I was in the changing room and I said 'Mum, I'm ok, don't worry.' She's alright.

Did you tell her exactly what you had done?

Yes I told her.

What exactly did you do?

I can't tell you that now.

The important thing is do you recognize what you've done in the past to get you in trouble?

Yes I've recognized it and I'm stating it that I'm wrong to do it and it won't happen again.

Are you getting a lot of support?

Yes, from some of the players, not everybody but I have to cope with it. Not everybody is going to be with you at the same time so I have to work with it.

So you're a rookie, that means you have to bide your time and listen to other people. Who are the people in the West Indies team, when you were away in Australia, who really guided you? You mentioned Wavell. Was there anybody else?

Yes, Brian and Bravo, those two, and also Bradshaw as well.

What kind of support?

They always cheering me on, 'come on, don't get down' when I'm not playing. They're always cheering me on.

In one of the practice sessions with Bennett King, he said 'don't hit any balls in the air', or else he would take you out. Remember that?

Yes, and I go out, I'm not gonna argue. Eventually I got it. When I finished, I said 'coach, I think I'm doing a lot better now' and he said [imitates an Australian accent] 'yes mate you're doing a lot better. Keep it on the ground, you cannot get out on the ground.'

Have you been accustomed to that style of coaching before, the way how he coaches a team?

Some of the things that he did, but some of the things are new so it takes a little time to get in. It worked though. I think he's the best coach I ever been around. He knows things.

And you're not just saying that to get in?

[Emphatically] No no no man. He's good.

What would you say are the good things about him?

Both in physicals and what he shows you to do. He's good, very smart as well. He thinks the game.

How does he relate to the players as people?

Whenever we're not doing what we should do, he will get a bit angry but just for a moment. He will pull you up and let you know what you are here for. That's what he did. He's good.

Looking forward to the camp?

Yes, I will go there and work as hard as possible, so I can get in.

Suppose you don't get in?

Come back and still keep working.