ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Pakistan v West Indies, World Cup 2011, 1st quarter-final, Mirpur
Gibson blasts senior batsmen
Firdose Moonda at Shere Bangla stadium
March 23, 2011
When Chris Gayle holed out to Shahid Afridi at mid-off in the third over, it summed up the performance of the senior players in the West Indies squad at this World Cup: listless, disinterested and uninspiring.
"Our senior players have not performed and I am not especially happy with them," West Indies coach Ottis Gibson said at the post-match press conference. "Our main batsmen haven't performed consistently. We need some senior guys who have the hunger and the desire. We need to look at someone like Sachin Tendulkar who is the senior statesman of the Indian team, and goes out and gets runs almost every time."
It seemed that Gibson's statements were directed at Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan, both of whom have disappointed in the tournament. Gayle missed two matches through injury and scored 170 runs in the five innings he played, with 90 of those runs coming from four knocks. The other 80 runs came in one innings against Netherlands, which is where he looked most like the Gayle of old - the one that can take a bowling attack and make it dance to his tune. Sarwan fared worse, totalling 155 runs in seven innings and not crossing the half-century mark once. He looked uncomfortable at the crease and failed to conjure up the shots he once used to.
It's premature to imagine that these two, and some of the other older players like Shivnarine Chanderpaul, will disappear after this tournament, but Gibson was harsh on them and indicated that there could be an overhaul in the near future. He did not go as far as saying they would be wholesale axing, saying that it is "hard to say whether they [the senior players] had played their last game."
|West Indies cricket for the last 10 years has been pretty much the same and we've had the same players|
He did indicate that he felt growth was urgent and necessary if West Indies are serious about rebuilding, especially because "West Indies cricket for the last 10 years has been pretty much the same and we've had the same players."
With their next assignment, a series against Pakistan at home, only a month away, Gibson said that the analysis and change will have to come quickly. "There is not much time until the Pakistan series and there are serious decisions to be made, decisions about players, in that time." Gibson seems hopeful that some of the younger members of the squad will be able to make those decisions easier for him by building on the intent they have shown here. "This tournament has seen the emergence of some young players and those are the players that we will build our future on."
Darren Bravo, who also only had one innings of note, 73 against South Africa, may fit into that mould, as will allrounder Andre Russell and legspinner Devendra Bishoo, who impressed for Guyana before making his debut at the World Cup. Gisbon hopes that a combination of promising new players will be able to complement the more experienced set. "It's not going to happen just with youngsters. We have to balance between the young guys being able to rely on the senior guys and the senior guys mentoring the young guys."
The winds of change could find themselves blowing through West Indies but one direction they are unlikely to go in is in the way of the captain. Darren Sammy has had calls for his head since he took over and they intensified at this World Cup, because his inclusion in the starting XI meant no place for Russell. Sammy has been a charismatic leader off the field but a relatively inept one on it.
Gibson, nonetheless, gave the captain his backing, especially because of the circumstances under which Sammy took over. He was named captain last October, after Gayle was stripped of the captaincy. "The captain didn't make runs that he was expected to make but I don't expect to see a change of leadership at all. The decision [to appoint Sammy as captain] was based on decisions other people made. He [Sammy] didn't set out to be captain, he has been made captain and he is doing his best to lead the team."
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