ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (CMC) — Captain Kieron Pollard has defended the decision by selectors to include several ageing stars for the Twenty20 World Cup, following West Indies’ botched defence of their title here Thursday.
The Caribbean side suffered a 20-run defeat to Sri Lanka — their third defeat in four matches — to be eliminated from contention for the semi-finals still with a game left against Australia today.
West Indies boasted the likes of 42-year-old Chris Gayle, 38-year-old Dwayne Bravo, 36-year-old Lendl Simmons and Ravi Rampaul — also 36 — and who was recalled for his first international assignment in six years.
“We can look at all sorts [of reasons]. We can look at age, we can look at mobility, we can look at everything in a negative light or whatever. But my question would have been, you know, what if it didn’t happen,” Pollard argued, moments after West Indies’ defeat.
“Obviously we have to face the fact that we weren’t good enough so I’m not going to sit here and blame all those factors. We’ll have our time where we sit back and have a post-mortem as to what actually went wrong.
“But you know, some of these guys in all honesty have still performed around the world, and yes, as I said, we were disappointed.”
Gayle was selected despite an average of 17 from 16 T20 Internationals this year, and continued that wretched form in the tournament with 30 runs from four matches.
Simmons has scraped 19 runs from two innings while Bravo and Rampaul have taken four wickets between them and had little impact on West Indies’ fortunes.
Pollard, whose form has also been scratchy with a mere 46 runs from four innings, said it was important West Indies did not second guess their choices.
“When you look at it at certain times, when these guys are not playing for us, we ask the question as to why,” Pollard pointed out.
“We have an opportunity now — they are playing for us. Okay, they didn’t perform… [but] when you make decisions you have to stand by [them] and you have to stick by it, be it good or bad.
“For us, we are not going to harp on that. We made a decision of how we wanted to play T20 cricket this year and what we wanted from the individuals, and it didn’t work. These things happen.
“Sometimes it’s better to try and fail than fail to try. For us, I keep saying we are disappointed and guys have not performed and guys have not done well, guys have not done justice to their talents, we have not done justice as a West Indies team.
“So we take that on the chin and again we move on. We have life and there’s a lot of other different things we can think about going forward.”
Needing a victory on Thursday to keep alive their slim hopes of reaching the final four, West Indies failed to chase down a challenging 190, leaving them still fifth on two points in Group 1 and only above winless Bangladesh.
Shimron Hetmyer top-scored with a superb unbeaten 81, while fellow left-hander Nicholas Pooran carved out 46 off 34 deliveries but they were the only two batsmen to reach double figures.
“I think it was a good batting track. If we had sort of restricted them to 170, 175, I thought that was about par on this track. We gave them a couple extra runs and we weren’t able to finish off the innings,” Pollard lamented.
“The batting has struggled throughout the entire tournament. It has been disappointing. Obviously it’s something we’ve seen over and over, and it’s something that hasn’t helped us — the way that we have batted throughout the tournament 0 and we just have to accept we weren’t good enough.”