If West Indies start winning, things might change: Gus Logie
Gus Logie, who has been part of legendary West Indies teams, is disappointed at the way the Caribbean side has performed in recent times. But he adds that players should believe in themselves and try to get their respect back.india vs west indies 2017 Updated: Jun 26, 2017 20:03 IST
Gus Logie was part of Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards’s legendary West Indies teams. The Trinidadian was the first player to receive man-of-the-match award in an ODI. Much before Jonty Rhodes made fielding attractive, he had already carved a niche for himself in the department. And, unlike point specialist Rhodes, he could pull off blinders anywhere in the field --- at point, short leg or deep midwicket. HT caught up with him at the Queen’s Park Oval. Excerpts…
Q: You played in a team that had superstars like Sir Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes etc. Does it hurt you when West Indies loses to a team like Afghanistan?
It is disappointing. I had the privilege to play with and against some of the best players in the world at that time, not only from West Indies but other countries. Every team had great players, quality players from whom you learned and tried to emulate and at the end of the day, you tried the best you could. For West Indies, we had a group of individuals we believed every individual was a match-winner. It was very comfortable for a young player to come into a setup like that. We always wanted to do the best not just for ourselves but for our captain, Clive Lloyd, who was a father figure to all the young players coming into the setup, and also the Caribbean people. Because we knew how important cricket was to all of us --- unifying force. We might not be doing well now (but) we still trust our young players and still believe in our hearts that we can turn things around. It is about the players believing in themselves and getting a bit of respect back in West Indies cricket which we have lost both on and off the field.
Q: Why do you think West Indies cricket has gone down?
Many people have mentioned that when we were the top team in the world, we had opportunities to play in England. Many of our players were consummate professionals, they were focused on their game, they were a bit more passionate, they wanted to do well, wanted to prove to the world that we were great athletes. You know, there is a combination of things like administration of the sport. At this point, we seem to have disconnect between the young players and the players of the past --- what we believed in the past is no longer a virtue now. We talk about T20 cricket, franchise cricket which has taken away some of your best players. They want to play T20 cricket whether by choice or whether the administration has not really understood the change in the world order. But once you are on the team, you have to be focused, you have to want to do well for your team regardless who the presidents are, who the selectors are. That is where we need to pick up.
Q: You were the first player to get MoM for fielding in ODIs. What are the differences in fielding now and then? It seems to have gained more significance.
Limited-overs cricket has helped a lot in development of fielding techniques. Just like batting with all its innovations, fielding too has developed. It plays a lot more important part. Players and teams pay more emphasis on fielding. They are throwing the ball a lot further and a lot harder from different positions. They are sliding and diving, doing things in various manners. You’ll see amazing catches, players going beyond boundary and throwing the ball back. These are things you practice and players are practicing these a lot more. There is a lot more support staff and coaches these days, so players have individual opportunities to work one on one.
Q: Do you think catching has gone down even as ground fielding standards have risen?
I must admit that I have seen some spectacular catches taken in IPL, CPL and Test matches. But I have also seen some simple ones going down. I think the focus has been only on ball hitting. You get just a few overs and you hit the ball hard. So, that leaves the focus for fielders on outfielding. But you need players who can develop all areas of fielding and in all formats, whether Tests, ODIs or T20s.
Q: Is popularity of other sports, like athletics, eating into popularity of cricket in West Indies?
I think people gravitate to success. The West Indies team isn’t as successful as it used to be. It has dampened the spirits of a lot of fans in the Caribbean. If we start winning, things might change. But at the moment West Indies team is not doing well and that is hurting. You want to see Pollards, Gayles etc to be playing with these exciting young guys and that will make a better viewing for public and that’ll bring more support.