Former fast bowler Richard ‘Prof’ Edwards has called for Cricket West Indies (CWI) to take a radical approach to rebuild the fortunes of West Indies cricket, following a dismal showing at the ICC T20 World Cup.

Having entered the tournament as defending champions, the regional team crashed out of it after losing four of the five games played.  The team’s lone win came against Bangladesh and even more concerningly they were comfortably beaten in the rest of the matches.

The batting line-up, which featured the likes of experienced players Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons, Andre Russell, and Dwayne Bravo was particularly disappointing as they never seemed to come to grips with the circumstances.

“At no time when you saw West Indies batting did they give any idea or feeling of permanence there.  The batsmen looked they were in a hurry to make shots, all the time looking for attacks.”

“When I compared how they batted with Finch and Warner of Australia for example, Rahul and Rohit for India, Williamson, and co in New Zealand and people like Babar Azam, it was looking like two different games altogether.  The class that those other players exuded when they were batting, it didn’t look like at any time we were going to stick around for very long,” he added.

In light of such a catastrophic failure, Edwards believes major changes are needed, perhaps even with the leadership of the unit.

“You have to come in and be fairly cold about what you want to do. You want to try and look at the team and the players.  How long they’ve been playing? Are they still producing?

“I would think that now you have to come in and be a little ruthless, look around and try to pick, but who are you going to pick?  Do you have the resources? Whatever it is, now is the time to build.  The supposedly experienced players never came to the party.”

Rubbing salt into the gaping wound of their poor performance at the ICC T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, the West Indies will have to play an additional qualifying round against the likes of Scotland and Namibia to make the Super 12s in next year's Men's T20 World Cup in Australia.

West Indies white-ball vice-captain Nicholas Pooran and explosive opener Evin Lewis have paid tribute to retired all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and soon-to-be-retired, who have both played in their last ICC T20 World Cup tournament.

The 38-year-old Bravo announced his retirement from international cricket last Thursday after the West Indies lost to Sri Lanka by 20 runs effectively ending their world cup campaign.

"I think the time has come," Bravo said. "I've had a very good career. To represent the West Indies for 18 years, had some ups and downs, but as I look back at it I'm very grateful to represent the region and the Caribbean people for so long.”

Gayle, meanwhile, is holding off talk of retirement for the time being as he has hopes of donning West Indies colours at least once more before he calls time on his record-breaking career.

"It's been a phenomenal career. I didn't announce any retirement but they actually give me one game in Jamaica to go in front of my home crowd, then I can say 'hey guys, thank you so much. Let's see. If not, I'll announce it a long time and then I'll be joining DJ Bravo in the backend and say thanks to each and everyone but I can't say that as yet," Gayle said prior to the West Indies’ eight-wicket loss to Australia on Saturday.

Notwithstanding Gayle’s comments, there can be no doubting the fact that his days in international cricket are numbered, a reality that prompted Pooran to pay tribute to both players, who have inspired him.

“Personally, I've witnessed (ed) two gentlemen who have left it all out on the cricket field, from being super excited to reach home fast from school to see @chrisgayle333 smash it all over the park and then see @djbravo47 defend basically less to nothing in a last over and then do his dance celebrations, to then playing with them in their last world cup game, that was something special,” Pooran posted in Instagram on Saturday.

“Seeing you guys walk away today put tears to my eyes but very pleasing at the same time knowing you guys have achieved so much in your careers. So from me to you guys, thank you for my childhood and all the best in whatever you do in the future!”

Meanwhile, Lewis, who opened with Gayle for the West Indies on several occasions, wished the two departing well.

“Words can’t describe. I’m a person of few words but it’s been an honour watching you guys on TV then sharing the same dressing room. Go well champs @djbravo47 @chrisgayle333,” said the power-hitting Trinidadian.

Pooran, perhaps the man to lead the West Indies into a new era, apologized for the team’s poor performances in the world cup and promised that even as two of the game’s greats ride into the sunset of their careers, the West Indies has the talent bounce back stronger than before.

“To our fans all over the world and back home, we know we have disappointed you guys, but let's not forget what we have accomplished in the last nine years winning two titles. It has been a wonderful era, but we will rise again,” he said.

West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo hopes to play cricket for a few more years yet, despite recently pulling the curtains on his international career.

The 38-year-old officially called time on representing the West Indies, following the close of a disappointing T20 World Cup campaign that ended with a loss to South Africa.  An uninspiring performance from the titleholders saw them lose four of the five matches played. 

Overall, Bravo made 295 appearances for the Caribbean team, winning two T20 World Cup titles and one ICC Champions Trophy.  Despite the disappointment of the most recent tournamet, however, Bravo, who only months ago claimed the Indian Premier League (IPL) title with the Chennai Super Kings, is not quite ready to walk away from the game completely.

“I will continue playing franchise cricket for a few more years as long as my body will allow me to,” Bravo said during the post-match press conference.

“My aim was to retire a few years ago, but with a change of presidency and change of leadership comes a change of heart, and I wanted to give back to West Indies because I was still in a good place physically and enjoy my cricket,” he said.

Bravo had previously announced his international retirement in October of 2018 but came out of retirement in 2019 to help West Indies defend their T20 title.  He is convinced now is the time for a new generation to step into the limelight.

“I think this was the right moment for me to walk away from the game, and allow the next generation and young players who I share a very good friendship with to come through.”

West Indies batting star Chris Gayle joked about wanting to play another World Cup but is expected to officially sign off an exceptional career with one more match, at Sabina Park, when he returns to his birth nation Jamaica.

The 42-year-old competed in his final World Cup match on Thursday, his third appearance overall at the premier T20 competition.  Unlike the other two appearances, which had resulted in the West Indies lifting the trophy, however, this one ended in disappointment with the team limping to the line in second to last place and being eliminated at the group stages.

Nor was Gayle’s performance particularly statistically significant.  In five matches, Gayle tottered to 45 runs with a high score of 15 and an average of 9.  In fact, even before the tournament, the player's inclusion had divided opinion around the Caribbean region with many insisting that the batsman, no longer at the top of his game, should have stepped aside for younger talent.  He admits it was not the fairytale ending.

“It was a very disappointing World Cup, disappointing for me as well.  This is probably my worst World Cup, but these things happen and it's just sad that it came at the back end of my career,” Gayle told ICC Cricket media.

“We still have a lot to go in West Indies cricket, we have some great talent coming up right now, so all I can do is play my supporting role with them and wish West Indies Cricket the best.

“I’d love to play one more World Cup, but I don’t think they would allow me,” a laughing Gayle added.

“I haven’t announced any retirement because they have given me one more game in Jamaica, in front of my home crowd then I can saw alright, thanks, guys.  So, let’s see.  If it wasn’t for that I would have announced it a long time ago with DJ Bravo.”

Gayle has been one of the most dominant players in the sport of T20 cricket, with over 14,000 runs scored.  Internationally, he has scored the most runs for the West Indies with 1899.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard has admitted that the senior players simply did not deliver as the team crashed out of the T20 World Cup, on Thursday, following a loss to Sri Lanka.

In a disappointing campaign, the defeat was the third in four games for the two-time defending champions, who in truth since the first ball was bowled never looked likely to mount a strong title defense and were barely clinging to semi-final hopes ahead of the Sri Lanka match-up.

Heading into the tournament, the team had highlighted its experience as a major advantage with several players in the team having won multiple world titles.  In reality, however, things never really panned out.  T20 star Chris Gayle, a controversial selection for the squad, made 30 runs in four games for an average of 7.50.  Lendl Simmons made 19 over two matches for an average of 9.50, Andre Russell, who came into the tournament with an injury, made 7 runs in four matches for an average of 1.75.  Pollard did slightly better with 46 runs at 15.33, while Dwayne Bravo claimed two wickets in four matches.

"A couple of young guys are putting up their hands (up) but the experienced guys, myself included, have not done well. We are not going to hide from the fact that it's been disappointing for us,” Pollard said following the match.

On Thursday, it was indeed the younger generation who stood up to be counted. Shimron Hetmyer was the team’s top scorer with 81 from 54, followed by Nicholas Pooran who scored 46 from 34.

"I'm sure all the guys are hurting in that dressing room. It's something we didn't see it coming but we have to face reality," Pollard added.

"I think we were below par. In a crucial match like this, you don't want to see those things (for fielding). Our bowlers did okay, they got 189 but it was a very good batting track.

"I think cricket smarts is something that has plagued us. We have spoken time and time again especially from a batting perspective what we need to do as individuals and we have not done well.”

Prior to the start of the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup, Cricket West Indies’ Facebook Page had labelled the West Indies team’s campaign to regain its title as the tournament’s reigning champions “Mission Maroon!” With two defeats and just one win, a highly squeaky last over three-run win over Bangladesh, the West Indies team’s Mission Maroon has for all intents and purposes become Mission Improbable, if not altogether impossible.

The first three matches played by the West Indies have also been a major source of embarrassment to its Selectors both at home and at the actual tournament itself.

Having accumulated just two points after its first three matches, the West Indies still has a mathematical chance of emerging as one of the two Group A teams that will progress to the tournament’s semi-final matches. In order to do so, the West Indies will have to win both of its remaining matches against Sri Lanka and Australia by very sizeable margins so as to ensure it has a better run rate than any of the other likely semi-final spot contenders. Sri Lanka, in its very close loss to South Africa, has indicated that it will not in any way be an easy pushover!

Mission Improbable indeed, made even more so by the far superior performances to date from the likes of England, Australia, and even South Africa. Punctuated as they have been by much healthier run rates than that of the West Indies.

The chances of the West Indies now progressing beyond the Super 6 and into the semi-finals now, therefore, seems highly unlikely. What has become far more of a very tangible reality is the embarrassment that has been caused to the West Indies Selectors, Chairman Roger Harper and his Panel, by the substandard performances to date from the very players whose selections to the squad were so highly controversial. Messrs Gayle and Rampaul in particular, have to date done absolutely nothing to justify the Selectors’ expressed faith in their respective abilities to perform with merit during the World Cup.

Chris Gayle had celebrated his 42nd birthday on September 21, just weeks before the World Cup’s commencement. With his legendary skills as T20 cricket’s greatest ever batsman clearly in decline, as evidenced by repeated paltry scores in his most recent matches, Gayle’s inclusion in the West Indies 15 member World Cup Squad was discussed and debated throughout the entire Caribbean.

The West Indies Selectors, as well as the team’s Coach, Captain and Vice-Captain who had all publicly voiced their respective outstanding support for Gayle’s inclusion would therefore have been hoping for him to have effectively silenced all his critics with some superlative batting performances in his World Cup appearances. His scores to date: 13, 12 and 4 in the three matches he’s played, can now only be regarded as a source of colossal embarrassment to all concerned.

Much the same can also be said of Ravi Rampaul’s World Cup performances to date, the associated embarrassment factor for which has only been slightly less than Gayle’s. Rampaul was controversially selected to the West Indies World Cup Squad based on his 2021 Caribbean Premier League bowling. Rampaul’s World Cup performances to date have, however, confirmed the substantial gap between the batting skills of the West Indies’ opponents by comparison to those he would have encountered at this year’s CPL.

Rampaul has to date taken 2 wickets at an average of 30.50 from his 9 overs bowled to date. His economy rate within those 9 overs has been a relatively unimpressive 6.77. Yet in their infinite and now obvious lack of wisdom, Messrs Harper and Co, chose him at 36 to be one of the West Indies bowling attack’s supposed leaders.

As controversial as the West Indies’ Selectors final squad inclusion of both Gayle and Rampaul may have been, it was far less so than their non-inclusion of the ICC’s number one ranked Test all-rounder Jason Holder. To add further insult to injury, the Selectors’ also found it necessary to include Holder among the squad’s four travelling reserves.

As fate would have it, Obed McCoy’s subsequent failure to recover fully from the shin splints he had suffered prior to the tournament, yet another source of embarrassment for the Selectors, eventually resulted in Holder replacing him on the squad just prior to the West Indies’ match against Bangladesh. An opportunity that Holder fully grasped with both of his very large hands.

Included in the West Indies final XI for October 29 encounter, Holder struck two much-needed boundaries in a breezy cameo innings of 15 made off of just five balls which helped the West Indies to reach its eventual 20 over a total of 142-7. His economical bowling, which yielded 1/22-4, then helped restrict Bangladesh to 138/5-20 to give the West Indies its much-needed victory by just three runs.

Holder’s height also proved crucial in his boundary-catching dismissal of Bangladesh’s top scorer Liton Das. Attempting to hit a six off the last delivery of Dwayne Bravo’s fourth and final over, the nineteenth of the innings, Das must have thought that he’d successfully cleared the boundary only to see, in absolute dismay, the ball being plucked out of the air by Holder’s extended hands.

Holder’s outstanding performances with the bat, ball, and in the field during the Bangladesh encounter would have been an additional source of embarrassment to the Roger Harper led Selection Panel. It would also have undermined whatever level of joy they must have been feeling by the reported extension of their tenure by an additional two months. Scheduled to have ended this very month, the West Indies Selectors’ term of Office has again, reportedly, recently been extended to the end of December.

As if to be consistent with the highly controversial decisions prior to the World Cup’s commencement, some of the West Indies final XI choices made for the matches played to date have been equally bizarre. Selected to the squad based on his outstanding CPL 2021 performances and has been the West Indies’ most outstanding batsman, with the only recorded half-century in either of the team’s two official warm-up matches, Roston Chase, was somehow not included in the final XI for the West Indies’ opening match encounter against England.

Despite the West Indies having been bowled out for 55 by England, the Selectors still opted not to include Chase in the XI for its second match against South Africa. They chose instead to replace the injured McCoy a bowler with Hayden Walsh a leg-spinner.

Having been so repeatedly embarrassed the West Indies’ Selectors, both at home and at the actual World Cup, will be hoping that their choices, particularly those of Gayle and Rampaul, will be vindicated by their outstanding performances in the remaining two matches and by also by the team’s progression into the semi-finals.

If and when the latter fails to become a reality, however, Mission Maroon will have effectively become “marooned!”

West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran hopes to see more batsmen taking responsibility as the team struggles to find its footing at the ICC T20 World Cup.

The defending champions opened the tournament with back-to-back losses against England and South Africa but got on the board after squeezing past Bangladesh by 3 runs in the United Arab Emirates on Friday.

Despite notching the win, the team is yet to put a solid batting performance together after getting very little from the top of the order and with several players yet to hit top form.  Along with Roston Chase, captain Kieron Pollard and the returning Jason Holder, Pooran, who received the man of the match award, was among those managing to make an impact this time around.

Pooran, who entered the line-up uncharacteristically at number 7, made an impactful 40 from 22 balls.

“Me and Polly talked about batsmen taking responsibility and doing what’s necessary for the team.  In the tournament our batting hasn’t clicked yet, so we are chopping and changing,” Pooran said following the match.

“Hopefully guys put their hands up when it’s their day.  Today I felt like it was just one of those days that I needed to put my hand up, especially losing Polly there for a bit, someone had to take the responsibility,” he added.

Prior to that, Pooran had struggled to get runs on the board after scoring 13 runs in the first two games.

West Indies batsman, Nicholas Pooran, is adamant that the team completely trusts captain Kieron Pollard and backs him to make the correct decisions in a crucial World Cup clash against Bangladesh on Friday.

The defending champions are off to a poor start to the tournament after facing crushing losses at the hands of England and South Africa.  With only two teams advancing to the semi-finals from the group a loss against Bangladesh would officially eliminate the struggling West Indies from contention.

Outside of the poor form of several batsmen, the team’s leadership and decision-making have also come under the spotlight in recent days.  Both captain Pollard and coach Phil Simmons have faced scrutiny after a batting line-up change against South Africa, in the second match, backfired and seemed to be far more disruptive than beneficial.

Inside the dressing room, however, Pooran, the vice-captain, insists there are no doubts regarding decisions taken by the team’s leader.

"We have a wonderful captain. He knows what he's doing," said Pooran told members of the media in a pre-match press conference.

"Whatever he says goes, and we back him to make some really good decisions for us tomorrow to be successful,” he added.

Pooran is one of a handful of West Indies impact players who have struggled to find form, managing just 13 runs in the two matches so far.

West Indies batting great Brian Lara does not believe it would be a good idea to drop an out of form Chris Gayle at this point, despite the player’s struggles at the T20 World Cup thus far.

The 42-year-old batsman has faced heavy scrutiny in recent weeks and has managed just a total of 25 runs in two heavy losses for the Windies at the tournament so far.  The storm of criticism surrounding the batsman, however, extends beyond that.

Heading into the tournament, Gayle had struggled to look like anything close to the player who has scored over 14,000 runs in T20 cricket.  In the last 16 matches, the batsman has averaged 15.93 and scored 239 runs with a strike rate of 13.80, well below his career average of 138.46.

Despite that, however, Lara, considered one of the game’s greatest ever batsmen, believes the player could still have a role to play in the team and should remain a part of the line-up at this point in time.

 "Chris Gayle is already in the World Cup and his experience and the fact that he can pass on something to the younger players is key,” Lara said recently on Star Sports.

"I personally believe that Chris Gayle has to be given a proper send-off. This, I think, is his last tournament. Dismissing Chris Gayle at this stage of the tournament, I am not sure it's the right thing. I would like to see some sort of nice approach for the rest of the tournament. I think he can still make an impression on the younger players even if he doesn't score," he added.

Former West Indies captain has been included in the West Indies T20 World Cup squad as a replacement for injured left-arm fast bowler Obed McCoy.

West Indies head coach has admitted that the game and situational awareness of the team was not at its best against England on Saturday but said the team will continue to be aggressive in its approach when they take on South Africa on Tuesday.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has defended the decision to exclude Roston Chase from the team’s opening match in the ICC T20 World Cup against England on Saturday and insists that they did not misread the pitch before selecting the team.

In a rematch of the 2016 T20 World Cup final when the West Indies emerged victoriously, England bowled the defending champions out for 55 with Chris Gayle top-scoring with 13. England’s spinners took six of the 10 wickets to fall before their batters achieved the winning target in 8.2 overs.

The West Indies were unable to build partnerships and were missing the role of an anchor that Chase demonstrated while scoring an unbeaten 54 in the West Indies’ final warm-up match against Afghanistan. Playing anchor was something demonstrated he could do well during the 2021 Hero CPL season when he was the top scorer with 446 runs at an incredible average of 49.55.

When England batted, Akeal Hosein, the only spinner selected, was the best of the bowlers with 2-24.

Chase, a more than useful bowler, would have also given the West Indies another bowling option as a spinner in the match where spinners took eight of the 14 wickets to fall, the best of them being England’s Adil Rashid, who boasted ridiculous figures of four wickets for two runs from his four overs.

Still, Coach Simmons speaking with the media on Sunday, insisted that the team they selected was the right one for the conditions.

“I don’t think we misread the pitch. Yes, the spinners got some wickets but as you go along you have seen that the pitch was a good pitch,” he said during a media conference from Dubai on Sunday where the West Indies are preparing to face South Africa on Tuesday.

“You have to try and make the most of the first six or seven overs and then you have to fight until you get to the latter part. I think when you assess the pitch, you assess the squad we thought that the 11 that went into the game was the right squad.

“Yes, Chase got some runs in the game before but when were at the ground we assessed and we thought it was the right combination.”

 

 

West Indies captain, Kieron Pollard, says the team’s famous victory over England at the 2016 World Cup still serves as motivation as they look to open their title defense against the same opponents on Saturday.

In the 2016 final, the Caribbean team needed an improbable 19 off the final over before Carlos Brathwaite famously smacked four 6s off Ben Stokes to give the team its second world title.

Although Brathwaite is not in the squad this time around and admitting that things are not quite the same, Pollard insists the moment is a good reference point, which serves as an example of triumphing despite heavy odds in adversity.

“What Carlos did in those four deliveries, in that last over, it’s unbelievable.  It’s something we saw as a team last night and it brought goosebumps back to us,” Pollard told members of the media on Friday.

“For us to be in that situation and get over the line, it shows that never say die attitude.  As a team, we hope to replicate winning the entire tournament, and those kinds of moments, they stick with us.  Hopefully, we can go out and play good enough cricket to get back in that kind of position, so we can be in another final and have some memories going forward,” he added.

“I don’t think it will have much bearing on the game (against England) because it’s another game of cricket and that situation was totally different it being a final, but we are looking to come out and give a good account of ourselves.”

 

 

 

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