West Indies call in performance specialist

David Scott, an Irish-born performance-enhancement specialist based in Canada, will spend the weekend observing the West Indies cricket team in the last two one-day Internationals against Pakistan, and advise the management on methods that could help to turn the team around.

Scott's presence was at the request of the team operations unit, following a 5-0 whitewash in the one-day series against South Africa, and another defeat to Pakistan last Wednesday.

"He is here for a couple of days," West Indies manager Tony Howard told AFP. "His purpose is to work with the management of the team to see whether or not there are any other tools that he can give to us to help work with the team. It gives us an opportunity to talk to him, and see if there is anything he can provide to help us to approach the mental side of cricket."

Previous West Indies teams have worked with the world-renowned sports psychologist Dr Rudi Webster, and in recent times, his fellow Barbadian Joe Hoad, who is based in Adelaide, also worked in the role of performance enhancer. But no-one has filled such a role in the last four years.

Following a string of inconsistent performances, West Indies cricket fans believe a performance enhancer should be part of the team operations unit. Howard, like the West Indies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul, does not believe there is an immediate need for a specialist on a permanent basis at this time, but feels more work must be done on the team's mental preparation.

"This is all part of a process that we are going through to address all the areas in West Indies cricket," said Howard, the former Barbados and West Indies offspinner. "We are currently doing some other exercises in some other areas. There are several different aspects that lead to producing a fully rounded cricketer.

"The mental aspect is an area of the game that we think need some work. We are the ones who spend the most time with the team. We also need to find out if there are any other tools that we can use that will help us to make our jobs easier, and the team to get better."

Howard has also acknowledged that the problems that have beset the team in this year's home series go way beyond the boundary. "Winning a game for the sake of winning a game is not necessarily going to cure the difficulties we are experiencing."

"We are trying to get the processes in place, so that when we do start to get these games on track, and we start winning games, the guys will understand from ball one what it is to win a game. It's a process that we are going through and we are seeing some differences."