Less to do with talent and potential and more to do with mental strength, writes Vivian Richards
It was a surreal feeling to sit in the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, and I am really honoured that such a magnificent arena has been built and named after me. The pitch looks good, and the size of the playing area reminds me of the big grounds we used to play in, in Australia.
It's sad that we could not get a complete game on Tuesday, but we do have an extra day in hand to complete the first of the Super Eight encounters.
The island was supposed to have been swarming with Indians, who were to have played their first two Super Eight games here. When rain interrupted the match on Tuesday, the talking point was India's exit once again.
As I mentioned in my earlier column, this is a big loss for our World Cup. Like many of their fans, I find the way India were ousted from the tournament mind-boggling.
I would not blame the team management for this debacle, but there has to be some reason why a team as supremely talented as India's does not achieve more success. The reasons have less to do with talent and potential and more to do with mental strength.
Each player, especially the experienced ones, is responsible for himself and capable of self-training and managing his mental preparation. These are aspects that come from within, so blaming Greg Chappell or even Rahul Dravid is not going to take Indian cricket ahead.
I would certainly like to help India in this aspect of their preparation if asked to. I have always enjoyed a challenge as a player, and would enjoy the challenge of instilling self-belief and confidence in a group of players as talented and promising as the Indians.
Considering this team, with more or less the same personnel, came to West Indies last year as the team that was ranked second in one-dayers, I would also urge fans not to judge their ability on the basis of three games that was just how long the Indian campaign was. Agreed, they fared poorly, but it's too small a sample to drop a player.
I remember the West Indies were devastated when we lost the World Cup finals in 1983. That is why we came in full force and with great intent to win when we toured India later that year. We needed to prove to the world and more importantly to ourselves, that we were the best team in the world.
India, too, tour Bangladesh in six weeks time. They should regroup and ensure that they can prove to themselves that what happened in Port of Spain was a blip, and nine times out of ten there can be only one winner in an India-Bangladesh encounter.
That said, we must also acknowledge that the Bangladeshis are a talented, fast-improving bunch of cricketers. They remind me of the Sri Lankans in the late-1980s, and therefore the rest of the teams in the competition cannot consider them pushovers.