If you're talking cricket, Dr Rudi Webster has seen it all and dealt with them all. Ask Greg Chappell, arguably Australia's greatest batsman since Sir Donald Bradman, how Webster helped him end a barren run in 1983. Or why Sir Vivian Richards, fresh from a magnificent double century at the MCG in December 1984, believed cricket’s “witch doctor” cured his 12-month batting slump.
Richards said Webster made him remember a basic he had forgotten — watching the ball leave the bowler's hand. That was one of many invaluable reminders.
A sports psychologist, and former Barbados cricketer, Webster has helped many Indians too. He was KKR’s mental skills coach last year. Today, when he hears of malpractices that have plagued the sport he loves, there's distress in his otherwise adorable Bajan accent.
“I am not sure if value systems have changed in the last two decades. But what we see in cricket today is a reflection of what is happening in society,” he told HT.
Webster, 73, is unable to conclude why handsomely-paid professional cricketers resort to corrupt practices. “Greed, or whatever you want to call it, seems to be a universal emotion. I don't know what's motivating youngsters. There is lack of commonsense. A lot of them are tempted to get easy money — a part of modern culture —instant gratification. A lot of them feel they can get away despite doing wrong. It's a pity because India's T20 product is fantastic. People here in the Caribbean are crazy about it,” he said.
Webster first met S Sreesanth during India's tour of West Indies in 2006. Sreesanth was part of the historic side that won a Test series in West Indies after 35 years. Since that coup, Sreesanth has been part of two World Cup-winning squads. “He seemed like a perfectly nice kid. What is it that motivates people to do certain things, I will never know. There are two types of motivation - internal and external. The latter is money and other rewards. The more you are given, the more you expect next time. Sreesanth must have lost internal motivation,” said Webster.
“In Australia, some take pride in playing for clubs more than nation. That sort of club loyalty isn't in India yet. That could be another reason players are doing this in T20s.”
Webster spent more than a decade with the indomitable West Indies side of the 1980s. “Champion players have a lot of pride. Usually, lesser talented players don't have pride. I suppose culture of individual has a lot of do with it, and values he's been brought up with. If he sees others enhancing themselves by doing shady things, he may think it is okay to do it,” he felt.