“[…] Prior to the World Cup’s commencement, West Indies selection panel chairman Roger Harper expressed his belief that the chosen 15-member squad was good enough to successfully defend their title as reigning champions. The actual results have now, however, clearly demonstrated the absolute lunacy of Harper’s thinking.
“[…] The West Indies coaching staff and captain must also be made to answer for some of the other bizarre selection and tactical decisions made during the actual World Cup…”
Veteran West Indies cricket commentator ‘Reds’ Perreira and Toronto-based Canadian Cricket’s media relations manager Tony McWatt call for sweeping changes in the wake of West Indies’ poor performances at the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup:
‘Post-mortem doan bring back dead’ is an irrefutably valid old Guyanese saying. Following the unmitigated disaster of the West Indies’ ICC 2021 T20 World Cup campaign, an official Cricket West Indies (CWI) inquiry into its causes is now, however, fully merited!
The roles of the selectors, coaches, and captain should now all be officially scrutinised as a means of ensuring that such a disaster is never again repeated.
The West Indies entered the 2021 T20 World Cup as defending champions and the tournament’s only ever two-time winners. The ‘Mission Maroon’ campaign, however, ended ignominiously with the unenviable record of just one very squeaky win and four mammoth losses from five matches played.
Indeed, had it not been for Bangladesh’s generosity in gifting the West Indies their only win by a mere three runs, the former champions could very easily have ended the tournament’s Super 12 round winless, point-less, and at the very bottom of the Group One standings.
To make matters even worse, the West Indies’ dismal 2021 T20 World Cup showing has resulted in their exclusion from a top eight position in the ICC’s rankings which would have automatically qualified them to participate in the Super 12 stage of next year’s 2022 World Cup in Australia.
Former World Champions West Indies will now, embarrassingly, have to participate in a qualification tournament involving minnows to determine the final four teams for the 2022 T20 World Cup’s 16-team roster.
Prior to the World Cup’s commencement, West Indies selection panel chairman Roger Harper expressed the belief that the chosen 15-member squad was good enough to successfully defend their title as reigning champions. The actual results have now, however, clearly demonstrated the absolute lunacy of Harper’s thinking. As such, Harper and his panel should be made to answer for some of its highly controversial choices.
In the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis we conducted on the West Indies before the campaign’s commencement, we identified the chosen squad’s dependence on the reputations and experience of their senior players as the greatest potential weakness.
A warning that was justified by the actual performances–Chris Gayle (45 runs from 5 inns) Lendl Simmons (19 from 2), Kieron Pollard (90 from 5), Andre Russell (25 from 5), Dwayne Bravo (2 wickets at an economy rate of 8.56) and Ravi Rampaul (2 wkts at 7.53) which were way below expectations. The bracketed figures make for the most dismal reading!
Our SWOT analysis also identified the opposition’s capacity to analyse and exploit the West Indies’ batting as one of the biggest threats to the team’s likely success. This was reflected by both their relatively low recorded team totals, as well as the very dismal individual aggregates of the top batsmen.
T20 cricket has evolved to the extent that other teams have caught up with and moved on from the West Indies’ reliance 0n power-hitting . The West Indies’ dot ball percentages during their World Cup matches were that much higher than those of most other teams. An irrefutable indication that the power-hitting dependency of their batting is still as great as it was five years ago!
Only three of the West Indies batsmen, Shimron Hetmyer (127), Evin Lewis (105) and Nicholas Pooran had tournament aggregates of over 100 runs. Yet the West Indies batting line-up remained unchanged for four of the five matches played.
Andre Fletcher, who was included in the squad as a back-up keeper and second opener, was never tried despite Gayle’s successive scores of 13, 12, 4, 1, and 15!
The West Indies coaching staff and captain must also be made to answer for some of the other bizarre selection and tactical decisions made during the actual World Cup, such as the absolute non-selection of their lone out-and-out pacer Oshane Thomas.
This omission was despite Harper’s claim that Thomas’ inclusion in the squad was made on the basis of his ability to provide X-factor raw pace.
Former West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy’s observation while on TV commentary that the West Indies bowling was too defence-oriented and lacked attacking options made Thomas’ continued exclusion all the more questionable.
Sammy’s comment also brought into question the West Indies’ use of the squad’s leg-spinner, Hayden Walsh Jr. Chosen for his wicket-taking abilities, Walsh only played in two of the West Indies five matches—a stark contrast to the other participating teams’ routine use of their top leg-spinner.
Walsh’s World Cup returns were 0/44 from five overs bowled at an economy rate of 8.88.
The West Indies’ final tournament tally of wickets taken, 14 from five matches played, was among the lowest by all teams. Although the team was admittedly undermined by the absence through injury of both Obed McCoy and Fabian Allen, their Indies wicket-taking results were a direct reflection of an over-reliance on their three 30-plus warriors, Bravo, Rampaul and Russell.
All three were obviously well past their prime and incapable of performing at their very best in the challenging hot and humid conditions in which the tournament was played.
Not surprisingly the West Indies’ highest wicket-taker was the squad’s youngest bowler, Akeal Hosein.
Faulty selections and outdated batting strategies having irrefutably contributed to the West Indies’ T20 World Cup disaster, an official inquest on the campaign’s outcome is indeed now fully warranted. As previously suggested, while the post-mortem will for sure not resurrect the dead, it might ensure that the errors made are not repeated in the future!
‘Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it!’
In terms of the immediate future, the West Indies’ next T20 international assignments will be a five-match tour this December. We would expect that whatever the selection panel’s composition turns out to be, its chosen squad of 15 players will be a reflection of ‘out with the old and in with the new’!
No more Gayle, Simmons, Pollard, Russell, and Bravo, thank you very much.
Instead, Lewis, Walsh, Hosein, McCoy, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Roston Chase, Sherfane Rutherford, Jason Holder, Romario Shepherd, Fabian Allen, Dominic Drakes, Joshua Da Silva, Odean Smith, Kyle Mayers, Jeavor Royal, Shai Hope, Gudakesh Motie, Shamarh Brooks, and Alzarri Joseph should be foremost among the players under prime consideration for the squad, to be captained by Pooran with Hetmyer as the vice-captain.