Jamaica Observer:- West Indies wicketkeeper batsman Shai Hope says the coaching change just prior to the start of the 2019 ICC World Cup is no excuse for the team’s disheartening show at the tournament.
West Indies went to the cricket showpiece with high hopes but failed to make the semi-finals, mustering only five points from nine games. They lost six, won twice, and endured a rained-off encounter.
“Regardless of what happened behind the scenes, we have to go out there and play cricket,” Hope said during a press conference after beating Afghanistan by 23 runs in their closing game at Headingley on Thursday.
“It doesn’t matter what happened the week before, the day before, two years before. It’s about crossing that line and playing the hardest you can for the region,” the 25-year-old added following his man of the match innings of 77.
Earlier this year, the Caribbean men had drawn a One-Day International home series against top-ranked England, with Richard Pybus, an Englishman, at the coaching helm.
But after a change in the Cricket West Indies administration Pybus was replaced by Barbadian Floyd Reifer, a former captain of the regional side.
Their World Cup began in sensational fashion, blowing away Pakistan for seven wickets at Trent Bridge in late May. However, it was all downhill thereafter, with West Indies either playing poorly all-round or losing the grip when in winning positions.
Some cricket watchers believe the defeat to Australia in their second outing, after being in strong positions with bat and ball, was the major turning point.
Hope said that he was not able to put on a finger on what specifically caused the downward spiral.
“If I knew the answer to that, I reckon we’d be in the semis. It’s just one of those things. As I said, we didn’t play the better cricket on the day, and in a tournament like this you have to basically play your best game each game.
“We had them [Australia]… and basically allowed them to get that total. And I still think that we had a decent batting platform to chase runs.
“We didn’t play these situations as well as we could have. I thought that we let the game get away from us sometimes, and that cost us. If you have a team down and out you have to really grind them to the end,” the Barbadian stressed.
The elegant batsman, who scored 274 runs in eight innings, including three half-centuries, was bowled three times in the last four games. Two of those were inside edges onto the stumps while the other occurred when he assayed a booming off drive, only to have the ball swing into the huge gap between bat and pad.
He said there were positive takeaways in all the gloom.
“It was definitely a learning experience, something that I will never forget. Playing each team in this format, obviously you have to be the better team on the day to progress in the tournament. Hopefully, myself and the younger guys can use this and take it forward into [our] careers.
“If you don’t improve and learn from this experience, then we’re not going anywhere, we’re not learning anything. I’m sure we’re going to use this as basically a platform for the next four years. And hopefully we can have something stronger and build more momentum early in the tournament, and take it on to the semis and the final.