Former West Indies opening batsman Philo Wallace believes T20 captain Kieron Pollard must shoulder a huge part of the blame following the team’s faltering and ultimately fruitless title defense of the T20 World Cup.

On Thursday, the regional team limped out of semi-final contention after losing to Sri Lanka by 20 runs, a result that had followed heavy defeats to England and South Africa. 

In between the three defeats, the team did manage one win, which came against Bangladesh but that was far from some of the loftier expectations heading into the event.

Ahead of the competition, the selection of several senior players had proven to be a major bone of contention with some fans around the region, who clamoured for younger players to be included. 

In response, however, it was argued that the experience of the senior players would prove vital to the campaign.  In reality, things did not quite pan out that way.  The likes of Chris Gayle, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Dwayne Bravo, and Pollard himself, had disappointing performances.  In addition to his performances with the bat and ball, Wallace argues, however, that Pollard failed to deliver in another key area, his leadership.

“I think Pollard has failed us in that he has not stepped up to lead the team, the way we thought he would have led the team,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“…I thought that Pollard would have been the one to step up and say gentlemen I will take this on my back, and we are going to do this, X, Y, Z.  To tell the public that it is not a developing tour and then be in the position that we are in with seasoned campaigners is detrimental to his credibility,” he added.

“For all that he is worth in T20 cricket, I have not seen it at this World Cup…I know he had an injury but I expected more from him in terms of gluing that middle order together and with bowling and stuff, those guys needed a leader.”

Overall, Pollard scored 46 runs, with a best of 26 and an average of 15.33.

 

Former West Indies opener Philo Wallace does not believe Chris Gayle should be included in a West Indies squad for the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates next month.

Wallace believes the 42-year-old Jamaican, arguably the best T20 player in history, who has served West Indies cricket well over the years, is now well past his best. He cites Gayle's performances so far in the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League as clear signs that the Universe Boss is not the game-changing player he used to be.

“Past performances don’t cut it,” Wallace argued while speaking on the Mason&Guest radio show in Barbados on Tuesday evening.

“Gayle has done wonderfully well. I have no disrespect for Christopher Gayle. I think he has done wonderfully well for the West Indies and himself but the time has come where you need to sit down or stand in a mirror and say ‘can I make it? Can I make it through a world cup?”

At the time he made his comments Gayle had scored 83 runs in five matches in the 2021 CPL with a top score of 42. He is averaging 16.6 runs an innings and has a strike rate of 110.60. According to Wallace, those numbers are simply not good enough.

“For where he is right now in the CPL, it’s a bit of a struggle for someone like Gayle knowing his reputation and what he can do, but you want people of that vintage to be striking it,” Wallace said.

“You had enough time to prepare for the CPL and you know that the CPL is coming before selection for the World Cup.

“If you really wanted to make a statement that I want to go to the world cup despite my age you need to be striking the ball and score runs. There is no excuse for it.”

Wallace named the team he would select for the World Cup and it included Kieron Pollard (captain) Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Andre Russell, Obed McCoy, Dwayne Bravo, Jason Holder, Andre Fletcher, Hayden Walsh Jr, Akeal Hosein, Odean Smith and Roston Chase.

He listed Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas and Romario Shepherd as his reserves.

“There is no Gayle, there is no Fidel Edwards because I feel when you get to a certain vintage and you are not fit you have to quit,” Wallace said.

“This cricket is going to be hard. The UAE is not going to be easy against the best players in the world. New Zealand has left out Ross Taylor as well, so they’re looking to move on. West Indies cricket needs to move on.”

 

 

 

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