Ja'afar Tournament in Singapore, March 2002 - Manager's Report
Hong Kong's success
on the field in the Under-13
Tuanku Ja'afar Cup tournament of 2002 came as a direct result of hard
work and intensive practice in the months preceding the matches. The team
were better drilled than the others in all departments of the game. This
allowed their superior skill to flourish. Their previous experience of
tournaments was also invaluable and it ensured that, when the team came
under pressure, there was no panic as often occurs with young boys.
In my opinion, the
formula of introducing younger boys to the tour experience, added to the
coach's belief in solid preparation before a tournament, is a winning
one. I would be surprised if those aspects of continuity do not ensure
prolonged success at this level.
on the playing side inevitably involve the perennial problem of lack of
opportunity amongst the boys who are not the frontline batsmen or bowlers.
In this tournament, for the most part, the frontline players delivered,
thus restricting the chances of the others to grab some of the limelight.
Selection, which I will refer to later, was also affected by the order
of the games and the uncertain nature of the weather.
Off the field, as
always, the boys really enjoyed the tour experience. They are by nature
more boisterous than the boys of other teams. From time to time, their
enthusiasm has to be reined in and, on rare occasions, their playful teasing
could border on insensitivity. However this group were always a team.
They were full of characters and there was an excellent team spirit. They
accepted Hong Kong's first victory at this level with real delight and
celebration, but also with a pleasing degree of decorum.
The boys, and undoubtedly
the management, benefited from the presence of a number of their parents.
This crop of fingernail-biters are very supportive and the boys at this
tender age are glad to have them along. I have reservations about the
extent of parental contact with the players as they move up the age ranges.
Fortunately, these parents are helping the boys to learn basic cricket
tenets such as the team comes before the individual and the umpires' decisions
Returning to the thorny
issue of selection: although no-one can condone an angry approach to a
selector during the tournament about reasons for leaving out certain players,
I cannot hide my sympathy towards boys and their parents who are probably
not aware of the tournament rules and the adopted selection policy. I
would therefore suggest that, before the parents commit their son to attending
future tournaments, a full statement is given to them detailing:
- all the intensive
training and coaching that is given to the players before and during
- the minimal parental
contact for the tournament's duration
- the small but
real possibility that their son may not bat or bowl during any of the
games, due to weather conditions or the state of the tournament.
Obviously the selectors
are very keen to involve all the boys as much as possible, and as such
should be entrusted to balance both the needs of the team with the needs
of the individual. I believe, in that respect, that Lal Jayasinghe is
entirely trustworthy and should be given maximum support.
In summary, I can
report that things are looking rosy on the Under-13 front. Hong Kong's
youngest team is thriving and making the right moves towards dominating
cricket in the region at this level; but, more importantly, it is producing
talented, enthusiastic players with a desire to move on to the next rung
in the ladder of cricketing excellence.
Steve Atkinson - Tour