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first_imgThe high-profile sacking of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho followed by the lower-scale exit of Jamaica’s national cricket coach Robert Samuels, again brings into sharp focus the underlying principle of sports, where it is accepted that teams and players win matches and titles, while coaches lose games and titles. While the sacking of football coaches generally, and specifically the sacking of Mourinho, are straightforward, standard, and indeed logical, the sacking of a cricket coach is a little bit more complicated. It is much more difficult, for example, to quantify the direct amount of blame that should be apportioned to Robert Samuels for the results of the Jamaica Scorpions cricket team. It is impossible for any coach in any sport to totally escape ultimate responsibility for the team’s overall results, but when a Jamaica senior cricket team filled with senior professionals with international experience chasing a victory target of 117 runs, with two days to go in the game, gets bowled out for 65, what kind of tactical and technical advice would be reasonably expected to be imparted to these senior pros by the coach? What should Samuels need to say to the likes of John Campbell, Andre McCarthy and Jermaine Blackwood in furtherance of their approach of such an elementary task? Coaching in cricket is overrated, especially at the senior level. The very nature of the game of cricket places a great deal of individual responsibility on the players with significant tactical support from the on field captain. When a bowler begins a spell, or a batsman commences an innings, the coach is normally helplessly tucked away in the dugout or on the dressing room balcony several metres away. The bowler will decide his approach, his line of attack, and his variations, and make his own adjustments, as would the batsman in compiling runs in his innings. The effects of coaching in sports like football and basketball are much more direct and tangible than they are for cricket. Football, basketball and even netball coaches are much more hands-on and can potentially influence almost every play of the game with instructions, tactics and adjustments. One of the poignant facts about the dominant Windies cricket team of the late ’70s through the ’80s and into the early ’90s, is that the team did not have a coach, and yet, the Windies dominated the game of cricket for almost two decades. Indeed, the advent of full-time, high-profile coaches in international cricket is still a relatively new reality, and the jury is still deliberating on the direct effects of coaching at the highest level of cricket. My personal suspicion is that coaching does not significantly impact the fortunes of the top teams. As long as the players are at a certain technical and professional level, it does not matter seriously who the coach is. When all is said and done, however, Robert Samuels was the Jamaican cricket coach for two seasons and a game, and therefore, he must abide by guiding principles of coaching. Truth be told, Jamaica’s continuing struggles in regional cricket should not be tolerated. In a regional context, it is disgraceful that Jamaica is relegated to being perennial strugglers against these smaller territories. In that regard, Samuels must fall in line with Jose Mourinho and all the other fired coaches in football and all the other sports around the world, and accept that in their chosen profession, it’s all about getting the results in this the ultimate results-oriented business. Direct effectlast_img read more