Mark Waugh: WI must get the basics right
Former Australia batsman Mark Waugh believes the West Indies must do a better job of getting the basics right if they are to return to the top of international cricket.
Waugh, a member of the all-conquering Australian team of the late 1990s and early 2000s, made the statement following the playing of the second Test between the West Indies and Australia at Sabina Park on Sunday.
The Australians, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, won the encounter by a massive 277 runs to sweep the series 2-0.
The Australians dethroned the West Indies as world No. 1 at Sabina Park in 1995. The West Indies have not been close to that status since.
"When I started playing for Australia, we were a pretty good side," said Waugh, who made his Test debut in 1991.
"We weren't probably as far down the ICC rankings as the current West Indies side. But in 1991, we were beaten easily by the West Indies.
"In 1995, we came back with a different attitude, more self-belief.
"We worked hard at practice, we worked as a team, we did the basics right, and, I think there is where the West Indies has got to start.
He added: "You've got to do the basics right, whether you are batting, bowling or fielding.
"Just simple things like running between the wickets, making the most of every shot, running hard."
According to Waugh, who is a current selector of Australia, and was a commentator during the just-concluded Australian tour, there were, for example, a lot of runs lost because of poor running between the wickets by the current West Indies side.
He said, while small, these intangibles are important, and what is often referred to as getting the basics right.
"Once you've got the basics, then you can compete, then you can grow in confidence," said the 50-year-old Waugh, who retired in 2002 after scoring 20 centuries from 128 Tests at an average of 41.81.
"Obviously, it's very difficult for the West Indies at the moment, because they are lacking senior players.
"They can probably compete against the lower sides; however, against the top sides, you're going to be found wanting," he added.
The once-elegant stroke maker, who throughout his career played under the captaincy of his elder brother, Steve, also pointed to teamwork as being a necessity to the regional side's revival.
"It's a learning curve for everybody, and there is only one way to go, and that is to improve and go up," he contended.
"It was a tough lesson to learn, over these two Test matches, but I guess for the West Indies, it is the level that they are at.
"It's going to take a lot of hard work, playing as a team, helping each other, and getting the basics right."