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Where have man management specialists gone?
As I look on from afar and listen to comments from officials, and of course my little inside contacts, it is clear that all is not well with our beloved West Indies cricket team that is touring New Zealand. The team has looked disjointed and dispirited over the last four months and skipper Darren Sammy, the man who was supposed to be the great unifier, seemed lost at sea in getting the boys together for a winning cause. I have covered many tournaments and been on many tours to see how good managers operate. Managers are like fathers, mentors and disciplinarians. They have to take the lead and not be led by their men. I have seen the work of Omar Khan, on whom I have written extensively, and now comes the chance to explore one of the best in terms of man-management capabilities—Colin Borde.
Firstly, this individual feels the pain for others across the board. He understands the human psyche and understands what it takes to make men tick. He has a proven track record of success with the national cricket team and the West Indies ‘A’ team, yet men like him are on the sidelines while our players grow deeper in despair. I remember my first encounter with Borde, back in 2008 when he took the T&T team to the finals of the Carib Beer Challenge. He had taken over from Khan, an excellent manager himself, and immediately started to build on the good work. He got the players to buy into his philosophy for success. The guys responded because some would have had dealings with him as young cricketers coming through the ranks. He went off the field to assist men even before they became national players. Once a player was spotted with talent, Borde showed an interest in taking them to the next stage by doing a lot of preparation work with them.
When men like Keiron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo met him at the national level, it was like a reunion and he immediately hit it off with the players. The guys started to believe in him and started to play for him. It is amazing that Borde could have taken these same men and defeated Middlesex with former England captain Andrew Strauss and Murali Kartic among others on board at the Stanford Champions Trophy in 2008. Days after they lost by one run to England with the mighty Fred Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen in their ranks. At that point, Bravo and Pollard were not even on the team, as they were otherwise engaged and T&T had debutants like Darren Bravo, Kevon Cooper and Daron Cruickshank. These guys motivated to a point that they thought they could have toppled a West Indies team in 2008. The same year the team went on to win the Regional Super50 crown as well. The following year the success continued because the trend was set. The guys went on to defend the Super50 crown.
In 2009, T&T was off to India to play in their inaugural T20 tournament. All this team had was a desire to win and Borde stressed to them that they belonged there. These men were being told that they are special and that they can beat anybody. With this fire in them they went on to defeat many “big name” teams and actually reached the finals losing out to the New South Wales Blues. Observing his success at the regional level, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) called up Borde to manage the West Indies ‘A’ team and no surprise he was able to bring success. This man took on ‘A’ teams across the world and was able to gain respect for West Indies cricket. In 2011, the Windies ‘A’ won their “test” series against Bangladesh ‘A’ 2–1, won the ODI series 2–1 and drew the T20 tournament 1–1.
A tough series against India beckoned with the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Ajinke Rahane and Mohammed Shami to deal with. While Borde was in charge of the ‘A’ team still, he started early mental work with the players. As a matter of fact the major emphasis was on mental strength as these guys they were facing were already established stars in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Rookies from the West Indies won the three “test” series 2–1, the ODI series 2–1 and drew the T20s 1–1. The question that begs itself now is why aren’t the senior men not even competing against these teams when the juniors did it against the same opposition. Then if you look at the Australian cricket team, walloped in India and England, yet they returned home with the same core and ripped apart England 5–0 in the Ashes. In my view what is missing here is proper man management. We have the men like Borde in the Caribbean, yet we continue to be a laughing stock on the world stage. Take note WICB!