Video: Big Hitting with the West Indies cricket team
West Indies may not be the force they once were in world cricket, but their recent triumph at the 2016 World T20 has reinforced their credentials as one of the most feared teams in the shorter formats of the game, especially T20 cricket. The modern version of the game has given rise to a number of big-hitters around the world but few possess the raw, natural flair that the players from the Carribean seem to possess.
The likes of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Marlon Samuels and most recently Carlos Brathwaite have time and again showcased their destructive abilities with the bat and are consistently ranked among the most sought after players for T20 franchises around the world. This should come as no surprise as the legendary Sir Viv Richards proved that West Indies was well ahead of time with his hard-hitting batting at a time when even the idea of T20 cricket was not born.
Samuels, the Man-of-the-Match winner in the final of both of West Indies’s triumphs at the 2012 and 2016 world T20 says that the ability to hit big is something that the West Indians are born with.
“A lot of people like to watch our cricket, our style. We bring flair, we bring fun. From way back, you could look at the history of our great players and say that we love to play shots,” Samuels said. “Most of our players are big and strong. We have good eyesight and hand-eye coordination.”
While Ronald Rogers, the strength and conditioning coach of the West Indies, conceded that the naturally big physique of the players was helpful in this regard, a lot of hard work and physical training also went into enhancing their big-hitting abilities.
“They are so naturally talented, gifted and strong that there’s a tendency to take things for granted. It requires a lot of education to make them understand that when you are competing against the internationally renowned, you want them to get better movement patterns and make them to hinge properly; push, pull, squat and lie down,” Rogers said.
As West Indies coach Phil Simmons says, T20 cricket matches the way the Carribeans like to play cricket and the manner in which Brathwaite hit those four consecutive sixes in the final over against England at the World T20 exemplifies this fact most, but as they say, a lot of hard work and determination is required to bring out the best of your abilities.