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November 19, 2013
Darren Sammy's West Indies "looked drunk" on too much Twenty20 cricket during their 2-0 Test series defeat to India. That is the critical opinion expressed by Clive Lloyd, the former West Indies captain, who led the most dominating Test team of all times in mid-1970s and 80s.
Before coming to India, West Indies had won six Tests, against opponents ranked below them in the ICC Test rankings. However, they participated in one of the most one-sided contests as West Indies lost both in Kolkata and Mumbai inside three days, suffering humiliating innings defeats.
Lloyd, asked whether the defeat was due to a Twenty20 hangover, was emphatic in his response. "T20 hangover? I think they looked drunk," he told The Indian Express at an event in Pune on Monday. "I personally believe that T20 is something that brings people to the game, brings money to players and if it's doing that then you have to stick with it. However, a diet of too much T20 can be very harmful. I believe T20 is an exhibition while Test cricket is an examination. If you can separate them, then it is absolutely fine. However, I don't want the first thing that young players want to learn is to hit the ball out of the ground. Proper technique and the vital rudiments of the game are very important," Lloyd said.
According to Lloyd the balance of the squad, a weak bowling attack and the inability of batsmen to adapt from shorter formats to Tests were the areas West Indies need to improve on. "It has been a deeply disappointing tour. The team needs to have a hard look at itself and they have a lot of work to do," he said.
During their four innings, not once did West Indies play 100 overs. The closest was the 78.2 overs in the first innings at Eden Gardens. Only two batsmen managed to score fifties. Throughout the series, Chris Gayle, Kieran Powell, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Sammy, all went for attacking shots before settling in.
"I think and I hope that the West Indian batsmen have learned their lessons after watching how the Indian batsmen went about their business," Lloyd said. "The Indians can play aggressive ODI cricket but they can also transform into Test players, show restraint and bat for long periods.
"You simply cannot play some of the shots that a few of the (West Indian) batsmen played. The batting unit is pretty young, but these young batters need to learn how to apply themselves in a Test-match situation," he said.
As much as he blamed the batsmen, Lloyd also pointed to the lack of good fast bowlers as another big reason West Indies failed to rally back. "In the first Test when we had them at 120 odd for five, we really missed quality bowlers. We were short on penetrative bowling. I believe that any side you choose, be it ODI or Test, it needs to have balance. Sadly, there is no visible balance in this side," Lloyd said.
And that is where Lloyd felt West Indies selectors have the onerous task of figuring out what to do with Sammy. The West Indies captain made a total of 25 runs in the four innings and went wicketless, forcing questions to be asked of his role as an allrounder in the team.
"Sammy as a captain has brought the guys together. They are definitely looking a better bunch under his leadership. But now, I think people are taking a look at the balance of the side. I believe that when a team is losing, the captain is the first person to be blamed. However, having said that, he (Sammy) needs to take a look at himself, put his hand up and the selectors need to take a decision on his future," Lloyd said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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