HARARE, Zimbabwe (CMC) – Captain Jason Holder hopes the key areas addressed during the recent one-week camp in South Africa will see West Indies turn the page on their dodgy One-Day International form, in the Tri-Nations Series here which bowled off yesterday.West Indies were swept 3-0 by Pakistan last month and have now lost 12 of their last 16 games in the last four bilateral series. They were good enough to reach the final of the Tri-Nations Series against Australia and South Africa in the Caribbean earlier this year, but lost to the Aussies.“I think it is a situation where we need to come together as a team. We’ve struggled in the last few one-day series in terms of batting the 50 overs and that is one area we have addressed,” Holder said ahead of his side’s first game tomorrow.“In terms of the bowling, we need to be a lot better in the first power-play and then we have to close in the last 10 overs. Those are the significant areas we have paid some attention to.“I think once we do that and we string some big partnerships (together) – in the past I think we have found ourselves getting a lot of starts but not carrying on – we leave less for the middle and lower order to do.”West Indies open their campaign tomorrow against Sri Lanka before taking on the hosts on Saturday in their second outing.Last year, the Caribbean side suffered a 3-0 whitewash away to the Sri Lankans and Holder said they were expecting a strong challenge from them again, along with a tough showing from Zimbabwe.“It’s going to be tough. Obviously they are two good teams. Sri Lanka play good cricket and obviously are of a higher rank and Zimbabwe have a point to prove,” the all-rounder explained.“They are playing in their backyard as well so they will be (familiar) with their conditions. It’s a situation where we have to assess as early as possible and go out and play some good aggressive cricket.”West Indies endured a long difficult tour of the United Arab Emirates recently, where they were trounced in the Twenty20, one-day and Test series by Pakistan.Their only success came in the final Test in Sharjah when they produced an admirable performance to win by five wickets.Holder said the camp in Potchefstroom had been a great chance for the unit to re-assess.“We had a good week in Potchefstroom. I thought the guys had a few days off to catch themselves and recuperate after the long series in Dubai,” he said.“It’s just a situation where we got what we wanted out of the training camp and moving into the (Tri-Nations Series) I think we are much better prepared.”
He will not be permitted to play, absent a successful appeal, until Jan. 12 against South Florida. He will miss games against Ole Miss, NC State, Tennessee Georgia and Wichita State. Had there been no suit and no injunction and no cheerleading from the Memphis suits, he at least would have been in a Tigers uniform before Christmas and would have missed no American Athletic Conference games.And there might not have been any NCAA enforcement action threatened as a result of the circumstances that put Wiseman’s eligibility in jeopardy.You want to pick a fight with the NCAA? OK. That sounds cool. You better come armed with a case that can stick. North Carolina fought the NCAA to establish that its bylaws did not cover the academic impropriety that existed for years in the university’s African and African-American Studies department. When that case was over the Tar Heels faced not a single sanction, not even loss of their LA privileges.Missouri cooperated with an NCAA investigation into whether one of its academic tutors who worked with football players had provided improper assistance to a dozen student-athletes and wound up banned from participating in a bowl. The message many who follow college sports received by juxtaposing these two cases was simple: If you’re facing an issue with the NCAA, it’s better to battle. That perception was, in fact, overly simplistic, a lesson the Memphis Tigers learned in most painful fashion Wednesday afternoon.They were informed their audacity in playing freshman star James Wiseman in multiple games after the NCAA had warned he “likely” was ineligible for competition had a severe immediate price, and possibly a more damaging cost going forward.He will serve a suspension of a dozen games – nine games as prescribed by the dollar amount of the extra benefit he was deemed by the NCAA to have received from current Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway, plus three extra games as punishment for his appearance in the first three games of the season. Wiseman also will have to make an $11,500 payment to charity to regain his eligibility, a requirement he can fulfill on an installment plan.MORE: Donation cost could be tough on WisemanIt was a stunning result, one Memphis immediately pledged to appeal. “Based on case precedent, the circumstances of this case and other mitigating factors, the University will immediately appeal this decision,” read a statement issued by the Memphis athletic department. “We expect a more fair and equitable resolution, and we will exhaust all avenues on James’ behalf.”It also may not be the end of this matter. According to Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde, the NCAA apparently is threatening a major infractions case against Memphis athletics – based largely on the facts that clearly have been established: that Hardaway paid $11,500 to Wiseman’s family for moving expenses when he still was coaching East High but also was considered a Tigers booster because of a $1 million donation he had made to the athletic department nearly a decade earlier.One might think that alleged offense is being purged by the “repayment” assigned to Wiseman and the 12-game suspension, but that would be incorrect.It’s something that happens a lot when attempting to follow the logic of NCAA jurisprudence, and that may have been what led to the arrogance apparent in Memphis’ initial declarations of support for the suit Wiseman brought against the NCAA to gain an injunction and its decision to play him in games against Illinois-Chicago and Oregon.On the day of the UIC game, the university president, David Rudd, and its athletic director, Laird Veatch, expressed support for Wiseman. Veatch, who started his job in October, even said in his statement, “It is clear to me in my short time here that Memphians will stand up and fight, both for each other and for what is right, and I am proud to stand with them.”That probably sounded better to the fans at FedEx forum than in the offices of NCAA headquarters.When Wiseman chose to drop his case against the NCAA a week ago, it seemed some sort of rapprochement had been realized between the two sides. He had hired an esteemed legal team with a track record of improbable victories, so the abandonment of the suit appeared to indicate the NCAA was willing to make some sort of deal regarding the establishment of Wiseman’s eligibility.This is no deal. This is like a player having a shot slapped back into his face.