Martel: National pride aided Under-17 team
Trinidad & Tobago Newsday article.
PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD - Stephen Martel, manager of the victorious TT Under-17 cricket team, believes national pride played a huge role in their success in the recently concluded WICB/THA Regional Tournament in Tobago.
The TT team won four out of their five matches as they dethroned defending champions Jamaica in the second edition of the competition.
“We are very proud of the victory and we really tried to instill national pride. After our last game we sang the national anthem proudly. The national flag is displayed in our dressing room at all times too,” he revealed.
Martel explained that the mental strength of his players was really tested as most of their games were close and they had to dig themselves out of tough situations.
“Our motto was ‘I will, I can and I shall’. We had some sessions with the guys and tried to build their minds. There were some phrases that came out of the psychology sessions that stuck with us and I wrote them out and stuck them in our dressing room to remind the guys. Commitment and national pride were important to us. All the games were close and I kept the faith. We didn’t panic or show discontent. The guys all went to the crease with so much confidence,” he said.
TT started the tournament with wins in their first two fixtures against Leeward Islands and Windwards before losing to Jamaica in their next match. The national team bounced back, however, with wins in their last matches against Barbados and Guyana to pip the Bajans for the crown.
Martel noted that the loss to Jamaica did not create any doubt in his mind or his team who were still confident they would go on to claim the title.
“Personally, I had faith in the guys. I told them that I envisaged them coming off the plane with the trophy and that came to reality,” he declared.
The TT manager also hailed his batsmen who were good sporadically but in each match someone always stepped up with an important knock.