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

Comments: 98 | Text size: A | A

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."

Ramnaresh Sarwan glances on to the leg side, Pakistan v West Indies, 1st quarter-final, World Cup 2011, March 23, 2011
Ramnaresh Sarwan had a poor World Cup, making 155 runs at 25.83 with no half-centuries © Associated Press

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."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Comments: 98 
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Posted by Nigel on (March 26, 2011, 17:45 GMT)

Keep changing the players, you all say, and then we will win - sad! No one wonders about the mangement structure that has brought us to this ruinous pass; it's always the players. But since we first lost the Sir Frank Worrell Trophy to Australia in 1995, we have tried at least as many players as all the other bad teams, so how come we have not started winning yet???

Posted by Ravi on (March 26, 2011, 16:26 GMT)

I love WI cricket. I support them no matter if they win or lose. I feel happy if they win.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 26, 2011, 14:32 GMT)

WI need some to bat long inngs. that is something Nash can do y his is not in the ODI team

Posted by Martin on (March 26, 2011, 14:23 GMT)

Gayle, Sarwan, Benn and Sammy need to go. Even Devon Smith who has been tried, tested and failed needs to go. He only scores against minnows. My test XI would be: Bharat, Kraig Brathwaite, Simmons, Darren Bravo, Samuels, Chanderpaul, Dwayne Bravo (cap), Ramdin (wk), Russel, Bishoo and Roach. Another option would be to make Simmons the keeper and bring in an addition bowler since the bowling is a bit weak. I believe that Jerome Taylor is injured again. I would not bring back Edwards but would try with a young raw fast bowler. If the side has to be beaten, it's no big deal since they have been beaten by everyone in the last few test matches except for the rain affected SL series.

Posted by Bala on (March 26, 2011, 3:41 GMT)

The strength of this West Indies team is actually (paradoxically) their bowling. The depth of good (talented if not seasoned) bowlers is astounding: Roach, Russel, Rampaul, Bishoo, and Benn make a good bowling combination. When Jerome Taylor, Fidel Edwards, and Dwayne Bravo are back, the Windies will be in a much better position. Gibson now has plenty to work with and is he can build a strong bowling outfit, they might be able to paper over their weak yet developing batting. Kirk Edwards looks an organised batsman and should get an extended run. Once Barath returns from injury the top order also looks more solid. They will still need to rely on their bowling to win them matches...

Posted by Bala on (March 26, 2011, 3:15 GMT)

Maybe it is time to let Gayle and Pollard go. They looked too casual and disinterested throughout the tournament. Sarwan may have struggled throughout, but he definitely showed that he is willing to fight through; that is a quality the younger batsmen need to learn from him. There probably is also too much pressure being placed on Darren Bravo's shoulders by asking him to bat at 3, especially when he has to come in early more often than not. His development would be better served by having him bat at 5, after Sarwan and Chanderpaul - that would also mean he has a senior partner when he comes in to bat to help him out.

Posted by Bala on (March 26, 2011, 2:52 GMT)

The West Indies can only grow on the back of Tests. In fact, I would go one further and say that the Test team should be playing ODIs instead of having different teams for the two formats. That way, there is a continuity between the personnel and roles. Moreover, the skills and mindset that are successful in ODIs are the same that lead to successful Test teams. It is no coincidence that dominant ODI teams are also simultaneously strong Test teams. The real solution therefore lies in building up the domestic set-up and playing more A tours for the youngsters. The senior side should play Test-heavy series.

Posted by kent on (March 25, 2011, 23:45 GMT)

Well, we have have rolled back the clock to 2007. Do we all rememberthat World Cup? Brian Lara was blamed for the West Indies poor performance and of course castigated and hounded into retirement! He was to blame for West Indies failure. Well now it is the turn of Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan to feel the wrath. when will we leran. It is not the players but the system of play in the West Indies. The whole WICB should be removed, including the selectors, we need a fresh start.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 25, 2011, 18:57 GMT)

Gibson should critcise players he was never better than in his career !

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 25, 2011, 16:24 GMT)

How can Gibson blame the senior players in the team? The last time I checked, a captain should lead by example and the fact that Gibson is still backing Sammy speak volumes about him as a coach...he should be replaced by David Williams. I think Gibson put added presser on the senior player and they under-perform as a result. Let's look at Sarwan for example, he look very tense through the tournament I think it was because he was left of the team; it didn't do any good for his confidence...he is a very good player of spin over the years but he look very ordinary against Pakistan.

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