If the top players in the region play for other teams just “optionally” while participating in all T20 competitions, West Indies cricket will “cease to exist as an entity.” This was one of the findings of the review panel, which Cricket West Indies recently tasked with looking into why West Indies failed to advance past the group stage of the 2022 men’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
The two-time T20 World Cup champions, captained by Nicholas Pooran, lost their opening match to Scotland and then overcame Zimbabwe before losing to Ireland and exiting the competition. After the review committee was established by CWI, which included Patrick Thompson Jr. (chair), former West Indies captain Brian Lara, and Mickey Arthur—who has served as head coach with South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka—Pooran resigned as the team’s white-ball captain.
“The untimely exit of the West Indies Men’s Team (“the WI Team”) from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup (“the World Cup”) bears certain similarities to a disaster, albeit one without fatal consequences,” the CWI review said.
The evaluation claimed that Pooran’s team was “underprepared” for the World Cup because the majority of the team had little to no experience playing “topflight” game in Australia. The review team was aware that the West Indies players had arrived in Australia just after the Caribbean Premier League.
“The World Cup matches were played in wet and cold Hobart, Tasmania, which had more in common with the north of England than West Indian conditions. In the absence of a camp in Australia, the CPL had little meaningful impact on the Team’s preparation.,” the review further read.
Review Group wants specific players to focus on Test cricket
Following their defeat at the T20 World Cup in 2021, which was contested in the UAE, West Indies once again performed poorly. West Indies’ captain, throughout the competition, was Kieron Pollard, who announced his retirement in April. Pollard recently referred to West Indies’ World Cup elimination as a “sad day,” but he insisted that he would not hold the players accountable.
The review group wants a shortlisted pool of cricketers to participate in “as much red-ball cricket for WI as possible” as part of the short-term strategic goal. This will give the primarily white ball players essential opportunities to establish their overall cricketing abilities against better-quality Test sides, which will automatically improve their preparation for the 2024 T20 World Cup.
Between now and the following T20 World Cup, West Indies is slated to play Test series against Zimbabwe, South Africa, India, Australia, and Pakistan, according to the ICC’s Future Tours Program. Some of the white ball players, including Pooran, Evin Lewis, Akeal Hosein, Odean Smith, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Brandon King, and Rovman Powell, should at the very least compete in Test matches against Pakistan and Australia, according to the review group.
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