Meanwhile, I have been reading literature that, collectively, is called Physical Cultural Studies (PCS). To get you started, have a look at the journal reference below, another fascinating read. The PCS research, among with other very important purposes, discusses 'embodiment'. But what is it? Well, as a cricket coach, I am constantly reading about cricket, watching cricket, coaching cricket, playing cricket and reflecting on all four. For all cricket fans, you will all know how incredible the World Cup was (particularly, and as much as it pains me to say this as a pom, the Aussies). And, it was actually before the World Cup started that I began to understand what 'embodiment' meant fully. In two words, it was Andre Russell. The West Indian allrounder that Clive Lloyd said could be one of the best in the world. And if you are unfamiliar with who Clive Lloyd is, follow the link on his name and see his credentials for yourself. Andre (and Clive) as West Indians provide a link to C.L.R. James (who was also a West Indian cricketer - just minus the international honours), but, actually, it is the idea of the 'physical' embodying and representing cultural meaning that provides the strongest link with James and PCS.
If you follow the link on Andre's name you can see his statistics for yourself. Whilst they only tell you so much, they actually tell you a whole lot more. In my opinion (as humble as it may be), I strongly believe that Andre Russell is the embodiment of West Indian cricket in this moment in time. Inspirational, game-changing, talented, strong, symbolic. But why doesn't he (and West Indian cricket) perform to his (their) potential consistently? If you read Andre's statistics, they are modest in comparison of his contemporaries but it is he, Andre, who has West Indian flare that you cannot find anywhere else in the world; not even Australia. There are political influences on his (their) performances (namely the constant Digicel fall outs) and economic influences on his (their) performances (the lure of the franchised IPL). These combined provide a social reflection of the status quo of West Indian cricket. As a cricket coach, I am also aware that psychological, physiological, technical, tactical, and social (personal) reasons may influence his performances. However it is the interplay between these five areas and the macro level political and economical influences that portray an embodiment of West Indian cricket in one man.
How the performances of Andre Russell are improved is not the purpose of this article however it does pose the question, how are they? Alternatively, the purpose is to discuss the idea of embodiment and how it can be used to summarise West Indian cricket; calypso cricket; and cricket with flare like no other in the world.
A concluding thought to finish with is that when examined in more detail, Andre Russell as the embodiment of West Indian cricket, could also go beyond their boundaries and be more representative of cricket as collective. Is it more representative of the game internationally as it stands now? Has the political, economic and social influences on the game changed it? If the World Cup was anything to go by, I would argue that it was the catalyst to represent how the game has changed completely in recent times.
Andrews, D. (2008) Kinesiology's Inconvenient Truth and the Physical Cultural Studies Imperative. Quest. Vol. 60, No. Unascertainable: 45-62.
Sengupta, A. (2013) Remembering CLR James, the master who wrote the classic, ‘Beyond a Boundary’. [Online] Available from: http://www.cricketcountry.com/articles/remembering-clr-james-the-master-who-wrote-the-classic-beyond-a-boundary-27255 [accessed 10 April 2015].
Cricket Australia (2015) Whirlwind Russell blows Proteas away. [Online] Available from: http://www.cricket.com.au/news/match-report/match-report-south-africa-west-indies-fourth-odi-port-elizabeth-andre-russell/2015-01-26 [accessed 10 April 2015].