Pollard laments 'sad day' for WI cricket, says players not responsible for T20 WC exit

Pollard laments ‘sad day’ for WI cricket, says players not responsible for T20 WC exit

Kieron Pollard described West Indies’ failure to make the Super 12 of the 2022 T20 World Cup as a “sad day” for Caribbean cricket. The former captain, who retired in April, said he was both “surprised” and disappointed by the West Indies exit and agreed head coach Phil Simmons would now be under pressure to keep his place. Pollard, however, emphasized that blame should be shared by all stakeholders and not by any individual.

“A bit surprised, to be honest, that (Antilles) failed to cross the line against the other teams,” he said. i95.5fm, a Trinidad-based radio station last weekend. “But again, that says a lot about where our cricket is right now. I feel it. I feel it for the lads because they’re the ones who are going to get hit. And it’s not entirely their fault. “

Having already failed to secure direct entry into the Super 12s (allowed to the top eight teams by a pre-determined deadline as well as hosts Australia), Nicholas Pooran’s side struggled in the first round , scoring a solitary win, against Zimbabwe, while losing to Scotland and Ireland which forced them out of the tournament.

The shocking release drew derision both at home and abroad. Cricket West Indies chairman Ricky Skerritt released a scathing statement saying that a “autopsy“would be executed immediately, while former Australia captain Ricky Ponting called the team’s performance “disgrace.”

Pollard, however, was not interested in remounting Pooran and his men. Instead, he made a larger point, particularly about caps, which he says also played a part in their dismal showing at the 2021 T20 World Cup, where he was captain. The West Indies withdrew from this competition with a solitary victory and four defeats.

“We have a young captain, we have young players, guys who would have only played a handful of T20 cricket (matches) and now they are in the World Cup,” Pollard said. “And when I look back on it, I sit back and have a smile on my face. Because I remember some of the things that were said last year around this time, when some people weren’t selected.

“I just had to remind those people that there was a World Cup we were going to (in 2021) and another bilateral series (in New Zealand). And now some people have the opportunity to play in the Cup. of the world. And, again, look what happened. It’s not their fault. But when we tried to protect them and make people understand (in 2021), they weren’t ready for it we were castigated there was a lot that was said it was very derogatory at times it is a sad day for West Indies cricket and for all of us.

Much like last year’s World Cup, the West Indies squads have become a big talking point. The Desmond Haynes-led panel named a 15-member squad that did not include the Caribbean’s top two T20 players: Andre Russel and Sunil Nostril. At the time, Haynes explained this decision saying that Russell was not playing as they would like and that Narine seemed disinterested in playing for the West Indies.

“When I think back on it, I sit up and have a smile on my face. Because I remember some of the derogatory things that were said last year also around this time, when some people didn’t weren’t selected. They weren’t ready for it and we were lambasted.”

Pollard believes West Indies’ problems run deeper than individual players

The CWI then fall Shimron Hetmyer for not taking a rescheduled flight to Australia. Only two players, Pooran and Evin Lewis, were part of the original 15-member squads in 2021 and 2022. Along with Rovman Powell, they were the only three with at least 50 T20Is under their belt. Jason Holder is 49 and a former captain and World Cup winner. After that, the West Indies were fighting for experienced militants. This contrasted with the 2021 team which included Pollard, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Russell and Lendl Simmons.

“Experience means a lot. And we take that for granted in the Caribbean,” Pollard said. “(There) has been an idea over the years (that) as soon as you hit a certain age you should be taken out. And when you have guys on the team they want you out of the team or when the guys are not there, they understand the importance of the guys, and it’s another situation not to have a few experienced guys around to help the young people, to help the young people.

Haynes had stressed that form in the 2022 CPL would play a key role in World Cup squad selection. Pollard said while it was good, other parameters had to be taken into account.

“Not just based on form. It’s kind of a holistic approach to what you bring to all the different facets and dimensions of the team. A guy might not be in shape, but the experience and the knowledge that he can bring and share and help someone can be helpful too. But again, we as a people are going with what we see in front of us. So the last thing we might have is to be seen would have been the CPL before the team was selected. And whoever did well in two games, they should be selected. And that’s not how it goes.

“The decline started after winning the 2016 T20 World Cup”

According to Pollard, the West Indies’ “decline” in T20 cricket is not a recent event. It had started in 2016, immediately after becoming the first team to win two T20 World Cups. Since that tournament six years ago, West Indies have won 33 of the 99 T20Is they have played, including 58 losses. During Pollard’s tenure as T20I captain, West Indies won 13 out of 39 games with 21 losses. Under Pooran, who replaced Pollard in May, the West Indies have won eight out of 21 games, including 14 defeats.

Pollard blamed the “culture” for not having former cricketers in the system and helping it grow.

“We dominated in the 80s, that was fine (but) what did we do next? then captain, Darren Sammy, played his last game in 2016. All the guys who played and won that World Cup didn’t play cricket together for how many years after that – that’s where the decline of our T20 cricket has started. from n°1 in the space of a few months to n°7. Why ?”

Coming back to the present, Pollard expects Coach Simmons to face some heat, but thinks letting him go won’t solve any problems.

“I won’t go into any of this here and now. The easiest thing for us to say and do (is): ‘fire the coach, fire the captain, change the players and it’ll (make) a difference .’ It’s not going to happen.”

A better way, Pollard pointed out, would be for all stakeholders to have an honest discussion to find a way forward to help West Indies cricket.

“All players have to come together. When I say all, I mean everyone and sit down and decide where we want to do cricket in the Caribbean. We have to improve our facilities. We have to have academies. We have to put things in place for the younger ones so that they can be the ones to make the West Indies proud and if we don’t do that and we just keep fighting, politicizing, being islanders, then we we’re not going anywhere.

Nagraj Gollapudi is editor-in-chief of ESPNcricinfo

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