The column is publicly apologizing to the rest of the world for the shambolic display of the senior men’s cricket team at the International Cricket Council’s Twenty/20, which will end this Sunday.
Therefore, the disclaimer is that those selected to represent the region at that global showpiece are not in any way reflective of Caribbean people. As such, they bely the intellectual capabilities, the vast amount of cricket history and rich legacies that have been left by those who came before them.
Their display was in no shape or form the will, skill and mindset of our Caribbean civilization and upbringing.
As it turned out, the West Indies were booted out of the tournament, having just won a solitary match from their five in Group 1.
From the get-go, things were going south for the West Indies, as they were routed for a paltry 55 against England. But even before that first match of the Super 12, the signs of the times were beginning to reveal in the warm-up matches.
Whilst many would have argued that they were just “warm-up” matches, they act as indicators of what the team plans and approaches are.
Losses to Pakistan and Afghanistan in the warm-ups, thus prepared West Indies cricket fans of what to expect.
However, many did not envisage the debacle which unfolded, not necessarily losing four of the five matches, but in the manner in which the losses occurred.
Looking from a distance, the West Indies looked clueless, out of their league, and as a former great, Clive Lloyd put it, they looked like one of the associate teams.
Consequentially, the West Indies appeared as they were punching above their weight class in every department – batting, bowling and fielding.
The facts show that in the five matches, the West Indies were only able to capture 16 wickets. In terms of their batting, the scores ranged from 55 to 169.
With the explosive batting line-up, the pedigree of the batters and their worldwide reputation, better was expected of these players.
However, this was not to be and they meekly surrendered to the opposition bowlers, both pace and spin.
The records also show that top batsmen failed to fire, with some only making some intermitting bright sparks.
Evin Lewis tallied 105, Chris Gayle, 45, Shimron Hetymer, 127, Nicholas Pooran, 103, Kieron Pollard, 90 and Andre Russell, 25, all from their five innings.
Additionally, Lendl Simmons scored 19 runs from his two innings, while Roston Chase in his first T/20 outing for the West Indies made 48 from his innings.
Coupled with the poor batting returns, the West Indies batters were pedestrian to say the least, soaking up dot balls at will.
The dot balls were as follows: England – 59, South Africa – 56, Bangladesh – 34, Sri Lanka – 52 and Australia – 49. When translated, it meant that the West Indies failed to score from just over 41 overs.
This is against the backdrop that the West Indies in their five matches, batted 94.2 overs.
It remains fool hardy for the technical staff to stay with that antiquated philosophy that the West Indies team are a “boundary-hitting” unit and “power-hitters”. Not in 2021, that notion has cost the region major embarrassment, as T/20 cricket is more brain than brawn.
And, there is much to dissect from the overall performance in the World Cup, as from the get go there were inordinate murmurings across the region about the selection of the team.
As if vindicated, the players, whose selection was question, did not show their worth and simply justified the criticisms.
Beyond the actual returns, there was no seriousness shown by the regional team during the tournament. From all appearances it was a reward for some of the good servants of West Indies cricket. A benefit series, a sending off and intended swan song.
Significantly too, the demeanour of the head coach Phil Simmons, the body language of some of the players, the constant remonstration and facial expressions, conveyed a team which was disjointed.
Then, we were fed the rhetoric of captain Pollard and his vice-captain, Pooran.
Truth be told, supporters of West Indies cricket are weary of these rehearsed speeches and recitation type of responses from Pollard and company, especially when the team loses.
We have to face the realities head on and concede that T/20 cricket has evaded the skill set, mental capacity and more so, the tactical know-how of both the players and back room staff.
Having a plethora of stars, globetrotting individuals, are not cutting it, as other teams have sat down and devised ways of earning results in their favour. Taking advantage of singles, twos and match-ups, are not part of our structure and we are paying the heavy price of embarrassment.
For a region which a few years ago had mastered the T/20 format of cricket, we are now left to play in the qualifiers for the 2022 edition in Australia. West Indies are tenth on the ranking list and may be last in a tactical approach to win T/20 internationals.
Cricket West Indies have just under a year to prepare for the next showpiece, and the policymakers must begin to make the harsh decisions, otherwise we would suffer the same fate as what took place in the UAE over the past two weeks.