Thursday, December 3, 2020

National cricket team coach optimistic despite loss

The Botswana national senior cricket team coach, Arjun Menon, is confident his team can still find promotion to the Pepsi International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup League (WCL) division 6.

Speaking in an interview after seeing his team suffer defeat at the hands of Vanuatu on Sunday, Menon said there is still a chance for Botswana to make the grade.

“We have only played two games, won one and lost one. We have three more games to play and if we win them we can make the group 7 finals this weekend,” the senior cricket team coach explained.

After winning their first game against Ghana on Saturday, albeit not so impressively, Botswana produced a much improved showing in their encounter with Vanuatu only to lose by 23 runs in an erratic strewn first inning.

Despite being sad at the loss, Menon said he was happy with the way his team played.

“This was a very improved showing compared to the game against Ghana yesterday (Saturday). As is with the game of cricket, you can play your best and still lose and this was the case today,” the coach said.

Quizzed on the erratic fielding that saw his team lose a few extra runs, Menon said it was a learning curve for his charges.

“This is a young team and we are trying to build something here. We still have games to play and we will take time and look at this game and hopefully learn from it,” the coach explained.

Menon said rather than being depressed at the loss, the local boys should take courage from their showing against the much stronger Vanuatu side. “They (Vanuatu) are a very well drilled side and the way we played against them was impressive,” the coach added. “I think we lost crucial wickets at crucial times and this was evident during the last overs when we needed to push the run rate,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Botswana’s loss means the country has a mountain to climb as they seek to make the promotion to Pepsi ICC WCL division 6.

All is not doom and gloom, however, as all but only two teams, Vanuatu and Fiji, have lost a game during the ongoing tournament. But with the two teams still to play against each other, chances are that one will at some point drop a game.

While Botswana is still in with a chance, many of the spectators who watched the game were of the view that the country will have to sort out its fielding if it is to put in a genuine contention.

“This was one game which we had a chance of winning. At one point, we were ahead of Vanuatu during the chase down but a loss of wickets at crucial times and error in fielding in the first inning came to haunt us,” one cricket official lamented.┬á One spectator lamented the fact that the country’s fielders at some times failed to put their bodies on the line, something which he said ought to be done. “They also need to concentrate more towards the end of their opponents’ innings.

I think the reason why they leaked in so many runs towards the end of the Vanuatu inning was that they started thinking about how they will bat rather than stopping them from putting in some runs,” he opined.

Despite the fact that all the remaining countries are ranked above Botswana, the feeling among local supporters is that based on the performance against Vanuatu, Botswana still have a chance.

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The Telegraph December 2

Digital edition of The Telegraph, December 2, 2020.