Sir Garry: Careful with young fellows
Sir Garfield Sobers (right) sharing a light moment with (from left)
Edward Cartwright, Sir Paul Altman and Lady Allman.
A section of the audience taking in the proceedings.
by Philip Hackett It is possible for young developing cricketers to play across all formats at the international level, but their handlers must be very careful to monitor the manner in which they adapt.
That’s the view of National Hero Sir Garfield Sobers, the man recognised as the greatest cricketer the world has ever seen.
Sir Garfield was fielding questions from moderator Barry Wilkinson and the general audience that turned out to participate in an evening with the cricketing legend on Thursday night.
The event was hosted by the Barbados Museum as the first in a series focusing on iconic Barbadian personalities.
Sir Garfield entertained, advised and educated the audience with stories surrounding his early life and his journey to international stardom.
Responding to a question from the audience regarding the idea of young players like Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul being selected across three formats, Sir Garfield supported the move, but offered a word of caution.
‘Ability to play’
“That little youngster from Guyana [Hetmyer], I think that he has got the ability to play them [three formats] but you have to watch closely. I don’t think [he] can just do it because he is a good attacker. Whoever is their coach or teaching them the game should look at it in a very careful way and see which is the best for West Indies at the present moment. Knowing that you have these youngsters for the future, also think what is [their] best way [format],” said Sir Garfield.
“Talk to them. Teach them. Look at them and see if they are capable of playing the three . . . or which one they can play.
“That boy [Hetmyer] is very good and it is very difficult for me to think that you can take anything away from him. I think you would have to talk to him. Put him in the nets. Make him understand that he has the ability to play all three, but he must also be able to control it . . . and to be able to recognise situations,” he added.
or get somebody who knows what they are talking about to talk to them and help them to develop their skills.”
Sir Garfield, who took 235 wickets and scored 8 092 runs at an average of 57.78 with 26 centuries in 93 Tests, said that if it is felt that the technique of the young player is not suited to all three formats, then it should be determined which he should play. He said he would recommend Test cricket.
“He can build on that [Test cricket]. He can go from that into Twenty20, but he can’t go from Twenty20 into Test cricket. I can tell you that because there are two different approaches to the game. If you learn as a Test player, you can change because the knowledge you get from there you can carry it into Twenty20 or anything else because you know what to do and you’ve got the ability that you can do it,” explained Sir Garfield.
“That is what they have to do; they have to recognise situations and when they can do that, then I think you have got a player,” Sir Garfield said.
“It’s not just because he can do all this you will just send him out there. Look at him, see that he is capable enough to be able to control himself and recognise this is a 20-over match [or] this is a Test match, I’ve got to change. Give them the opportunity. Talk to them
National Hero Sir Garfield Sobers (right) providing an autograph for English visitor Richard Royle, who was delighted to meet his idol for the first time.
Sir Garfield Sobers (left) greeting Richard Austin, a member of the Bermuda Police Force.
(Pictures by Sandy Pitt.)