July 12, 2013

West Indies remain consistently inconsistent

A combination of faulty technique and temperament meant they didn't make it to the final of their own tri-series
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There was sunshine unabated for the Celkon Mobile Cup final at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad. That was no small thing given that in the island chain, tropical storm warnings had been in effect up to Wednesday, and that Dominica was still counting the cost of the passing of Tropical Storm Chantal. That was the somewhat ludicrous context in which the tri-nation one-day series between India, Sri Lanka and West Indies was played in the Caribbean.

Disadvantageous as the ICC programme has made scheduling matches in these parts - smack in the hurricane season - this tournament was about seizing opportunities when you had the chance. MS Dhoni and India used the good conditions in a gripping final to win this tournament of very dubious importance, coming so soon after the best teams in the world had just battled in England for the Champions Trophy.

The team that really could have done with putting its hands on the Celkon Mobile trophy was not even in the final. For the West Indies side, this was yet another opportunity lost.

On Wednesday, the same day Virat Kohli and Angelo Mathews were talking to the media about their sides' chances in the final, Dwayne Bravo was candidly owning up to another failure in 50-over cricket for West Indies.

"The performance of the team reflects on the captain," Bravo said. "I myself , whether it is due to injury or slow over rates, have some key things I need to work on as a leader." Credit to him for, as they say, calling a spade a spade. It is a refreshing aspect of his captaincy that Bravo plays it straight as he sees it. But no one will need to remind him that talk without the appropriate action to back it up is as useful as a shredded umbrella in an afternoon downpour. The tri-nation series did not give any indication of improvement in the way West Indies are playing their 50-over cricket. Again the problems were the same old ones, and plain to see.

Shaky batting that just about held up over the first two matches in Jamaica fell flat over the final leg in Trinidad. West Indies did not come close to making a serious contest of chasing the revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 274 in their third match, and lost so badly - by 102 runs - that India gained what proved a decisive bonus point. In the next make-or-break match, against Sri Lanka, the home side fell 39 runs short of their D/L target. Substantial partnerships, especially in the top order, were few.

After starting the series with a century at home at Sabina Park, the runs dried up for Chris Gayle. Marlon Samuels did not cross 15 in four matches, Kieron Pollard notched 0, 4, 0 and 0, and the captain, in the two games he played, did not reach 20. In their loss to Sri Lanka, West Indies' bowlers conceded 31 extras, including 24 wides - simply sinful in limited-overs cricket. And general waywardness and Kumar Sangakkara's classy 90 not out rallied Sri Lanka to their match-winning 219.

Bravo's absence for one match because of injury and for another because of suspension for a slow over-rate, and key spinner Sunil Narine being limited to five expensive overs in the second match against India because of a finger injury that also ruled him out of the following game against Sri Lanka, were factors incidental to this latest disappointment. The two defeats that turned a table-topping position into a bottom-of-the-table slump had all the markings of similar West Indies failures over the last year. It may be bold to say it about a squad of players where all but two - Gayle and Tino Best - are below 30 and filled with so much natural, athletic ability, but maybe this is as good as it will get for this West Indies team.

The tri-nation series did not give any indication of improvement in the way West Indies are playing their 50-over cricket

Ad nauseam, Bravo and his stand-in, Pollard, spoke during the tournament about their side's "inconsistency" which they had to put right. This was the same bugbear that confronted Darren Sammy before he was relieved of the ODI captaincy. The problem with this West Indian inconsistency is that it is constant. What could be the reason?

Well, if batsmen do not have the adequate technique for different conditions then they will be found out at some stage. In the Trinidad leg of the Celkon Cup the teams were confronted with pitches that favoured seam bowling. But against India - the best bowling unit on performance in the series - no West Indian was able to weather the early pressure or settle the innings down later on. Rising deliveries around off stump caused the downfall of Gayle, Samuels and Pollard. Generally in this series, they got out in basically the same fashion.

In contrast, Kohli produced a Man-of-the-Match performance to take his side from 210 for 5 to 311 for 7 over the last ten overs of the innings. He was able to build on the 123-run opening stand by Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. In the Sri Lanka game, Sangakkara, like Kohli, took the time to play himself in before attempting to accelerate. Then in the tournament decider, Dhoni, playing despite a not fully healed hamstring injury, marshalled his side's chase masterfully.

That kind of measured approach was not displayed often enough in the West Indian camp. And sometimes when it was - for instance by Darren Bravo and Lendl Simmons in their century stand in the chase against Sri Lanka - neither player was able to see the innings through. Johnson Charles at the top of the order did some good things with 97 and 45 against India, as did Bravo against India and Sri Lanka. But West Indies' batsmen collectively did not play the conditions or the match situations well enough to put their side in the final.

Repeatedly they have been found wanting by the combination of faulty technique and temperament. Against better teams, natural ability and good team spirit will not always win the day. But that is what West Indies have been relying on for some time. The compact T20 format covers those shortcomings somewhat. Solving those problems in ODIs may be a task beyond even the ever optimistic.

Garth Wattley is a writer with the Trinidad Express

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | July 13, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    Odi record against top 8 teams :-

    Bravo - Matches - 119 .... Bat.avg - 23 Bat S/r ........ - 79.......Wickets - 127

    Pollard - Matches - 64.......Bat.avg - 24 .........Bat.S/r - 87.........Wickets - 39

    Sammy - Matches - 75.........bat.avg........20......bat.s/r - 100............wickets - 40

    Russell - Matches - 25 ...........Bat.avg - 40...........bat.s/r - 125.........wickets - 34

    Says it all really. Andre russell should be first all rounder in pecking order

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | July 13, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    I am a Lankan who adores Windies big time. No doubt they have good bowlers but surprisingly they leak runs so freely in death overs. They have the best power hitters of the game in the likes of Gayle, Sammy, Pollard, Samuels, Bravo and even Russell but they just cant last too long. Honestly Windies have improved in tests recently. No doubt T20 is their main strong point. But ODIs are their weakest of all. Lets see how they perform against Pakistan. I am yearning to see Roach and Holder becoming their future great pace bowlers.

  • POSTED BY ThatsJustCricket on | July 13, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    @Batmanindallas, that's exactly the problem. WI needs someone like Chanders who can anchor the innings and let the stroke makers bat around him. Pollard has had ample chances, he is a T20 batter at best. Captain Bravo needs to make some runs. He is a top order batsman first and an occasional bowler at max.

  • POSTED BY on | July 13, 2013, 1:17 GMT

    Of course Pollard is a T20 player and more so for his IPL and other proteams it seems , where is Chanderpaul, Dwayne Smith, Sarwan? For too long we have accepted mediocre failing players when those who have shown over time that there is class . Good to change the captaincy but not the limited over format.

  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 20:41 GMT

    WI lost this series to poor team selection. When a player like Pollard is kept despite poor performance and Chanderpaul kept out, it makes you feel that some players are just liked more than others. But if you look at Ramdin being dropped and Pollard still in this really seems like the case. Why have Simmons there who is clearly superior to Pollard just sitting around. Pollards needs to go. Bring Chanderpaul, have Charles keep, give Best a rotation and bring in either Nikita Miller to offer some variety with Holder and watch and see what happens. But persisting with Pollard at the expense of the team is rather stupid and needs to stop. All this is quite obvious but then i'm just a supporter, what do i know.

  • POSTED BY ibbani on | July 12, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    Article is well written. WI is consistently inconsistent. KP, Bravo are jsut IPL/T20 players than Test/1 day players. Narine is a good bowler in all situation and keep the batsemen in constant check. WI can play Dwayne SMith instead of Devon Smith.

  • POSTED BY kiranjoe on | July 12, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    1.West indies bowling is average depends heavily on roach and narine,should try new quality fast bowlers.Also they should try perumal, bishoo in ODI along with narine 2. L simmons , j charles shows consistency in their batting ,they should bat at top regularly with chris gayle ,also develop charles as permanent wicket keeper 3.rotate pollard/ dwayne bravo/ the team should be 1.chriss gayle 2. J charles 3. L simmons 4.Darren Bravo 5.M samuels 6.K pollard / dwayne bravo 7. D sammy 8.S narine 9. V perumal / J Holder 10. K roach 11. R rampaul

  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Yeah West Indies is inconsistent, that is why they were not able to win tournaments. It is time for WI search a good wicket keeper batsman. Players like Pollard, Bravo have lot of experience but they are not playing consistently with bat when the top order is failing. So, if players like Gayle, Pollard, Samuels and Dwayne Bravo become consistent with bat then they can be tough side to beat for any side. Against Pakistan they will struggle again because of their inconsistent batsmen. When they will play well don't know. Ajmal will trouble WI batsmen for sure.

  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 14:13 GMT

    We need fresh bowlers and I think Gayle should be rested as he has been very inconsistent since returning to West Indies Cricket. We can use Charles as a keeper and our opening batsman, keep Simmons in the team and drop Devon Smith he's of no use.

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | July 12, 2013, 14:13 GMT

    Honestly though, this West Indian side is so much better than the team of the last decade. This team has fight in it. They will learn from these failures. And then they will be a bigger force to reckon with. That said, I can't help but notice how things have turned - a West Indian is lamenting that his team is not as good as, say an Indian team!

  • POSTED BY on | July 13, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    Odi record against top 8 teams :-

    Bravo - Matches - 119 .... Bat.avg - 23 Bat S/r ........ - 79.......Wickets - 127

    Pollard - Matches - 64.......Bat.avg - 24 .........Bat.S/r - 87.........Wickets - 39

    Sammy - Matches - 75.........bat.avg........20......bat.s/r - 100............wickets - 40

    Russell - Matches - 25 ...........Bat.avg - 40...........bat.s/r - 125.........wickets - 34

    Says it all really. Andre russell should be first all rounder in pecking order

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | July 13, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    I am a Lankan who adores Windies big time. No doubt they have good bowlers but surprisingly they leak runs so freely in death overs. They have the best power hitters of the game in the likes of Gayle, Sammy, Pollard, Samuels, Bravo and even Russell but they just cant last too long. Honestly Windies have improved in tests recently. No doubt T20 is their main strong point. But ODIs are their weakest of all. Lets see how they perform against Pakistan. I am yearning to see Roach and Holder becoming their future great pace bowlers.

  • POSTED BY ThatsJustCricket on | July 13, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    @Batmanindallas, that's exactly the problem. WI needs someone like Chanders who can anchor the innings and let the stroke makers bat around him. Pollard has had ample chances, he is a T20 batter at best. Captain Bravo needs to make some runs. He is a top order batsman first and an occasional bowler at max.

  • POSTED BY on | July 13, 2013, 1:17 GMT

    Of course Pollard is a T20 player and more so for his IPL and other proteams it seems , where is Chanderpaul, Dwayne Smith, Sarwan? For too long we have accepted mediocre failing players when those who have shown over time that there is class . Good to change the captaincy but not the limited over format.

  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 20:41 GMT

    WI lost this series to poor team selection. When a player like Pollard is kept despite poor performance and Chanderpaul kept out, it makes you feel that some players are just liked more than others. But if you look at Ramdin being dropped and Pollard still in this really seems like the case. Why have Simmons there who is clearly superior to Pollard just sitting around. Pollards needs to go. Bring Chanderpaul, have Charles keep, give Best a rotation and bring in either Nikita Miller to offer some variety with Holder and watch and see what happens. But persisting with Pollard at the expense of the team is rather stupid and needs to stop. All this is quite obvious but then i'm just a supporter, what do i know.

  • POSTED BY ibbani on | July 12, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    Article is well written. WI is consistently inconsistent. KP, Bravo are jsut IPL/T20 players than Test/1 day players. Narine is a good bowler in all situation and keep the batsemen in constant check. WI can play Dwayne SMith instead of Devon Smith.

  • POSTED BY kiranjoe on | July 12, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    1.West indies bowling is average depends heavily on roach and narine,should try new quality fast bowlers.Also they should try perumal, bishoo in ODI along with narine 2. L simmons , j charles shows consistency in their batting ,they should bat at top regularly with chris gayle ,also develop charles as permanent wicket keeper 3.rotate pollard/ dwayne bravo/ the team should be 1.chriss gayle 2. J charles 3. L simmons 4.Darren Bravo 5.M samuels 6.K pollard / dwayne bravo 7. D sammy 8.S narine 9. V perumal / J Holder 10. K roach 11. R rampaul

  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Yeah West Indies is inconsistent, that is why they were not able to win tournaments. It is time for WI search a good wicket keeper batsman. Players like Pollard, Bravo have lot of experience but they are not playing consistently with bat when the top order is failing. So, if players like Gayle, Pollard, Samuels and Dwayne Bravo become consistent with bat then they can be tough side to beat for any side. Against Pakistan they will struggle again because of their inconsistent batsmen. When they will play well don't know. Ajmal will trouble WI batsmen for sure.

  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 14:13 GMT

    We need fresh bowlers and I think Gayle should be rested as he has been very inconsistent since returning to West Indies Cricket. We can use Charles as a keeper and our opening batsman, keep Simmons in the team and drop Devon Smith he's of no use.

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | July 12, 2013, 14:13 GMT

    Honestly though, this West Indian side is so much better than the team of the last decade. This team has fight in it. They will learn from these failures. And then they will be a bigger force to reckon with. That said, I can't help but notice how things have turned - a West Indian is lamenting that his team is not as good as, say an Indian team!

  • POSTED BY fguy on | July 12, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    i'm sorry to say this. i'm a big fan of WI cricketers & the way they play with a smile on their faces but fact is WICB should be penalised for preparing such pitches. These aren't merely tough pitches but dangerous. along with not making good viewing it could've landed players in hospital.

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | July 12, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    Pollard, smith and even Gayle too many flashers and few consistent performers

  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    West Indies need a pivot in the 50 Overs team ,who is Shivnarine. Chanderpaul. His position should be as opener with Chris Gayle and his role is to hold one end . The stats will indicate that this opening pair has a superb record, in this form of the game. Otis and the WI board need to reconsider there strategy. We need Chanderpaul , who can adapt to the different situations that may arise.While the young blood gain experience and become masters in there own right

  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    Where do i start,the same things happen over and over again with west indies cricket and its clear where the problem is,champions trophy west indies vs south africa clouds were overhead yes,look like it was going rain,but common sense tells you play the situation,pollard with a rush of blood to the head trying to force the game just gave his wicket away and then the collapse,west indies vs sri lanka tri series again same thing, simmons was well set, clouds came did the same thing,West indies cricket have to get back to being Discipline and Professional play for the love of the game,the talent is there we need to start taking it to heart,or we will be making these mistakes over and over again,we have gotten better over the years but we have to push on,and last but not least the west indies cricket board need to take most of the blame,take care of your cricketers if you want them to play for you,stop the in fighting,be Professional.

  • POSTED BY SamWintson92 on | July 12, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    The problem definitely lies on batting. Devon Smith, Pollard, Samuels & Dw Bravo all didn't score. WI should drop Devon Smith & blood in some potential young batsmen with decent domestic records. I see there are talks of going back to Chanderpaul. Not a bad idea though for me. He's not selected after WC 2011 with a vision to build a team for 2015. Can Chanderpaul handle both tests & ODIs till 2015 ? Only he can answer. Sarwan was tried but he disappointed.

  • POSTED BY SNIFFLEATHER on | July 12, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    The ODI and T20 squads are a mess - serious thought needs to go into both, as currently, no patent direction is apparent. However, the REAL measure of a side is test cricket, the one TRUE form of the game. In this arena, the Windies are steadily progressing - and have been for two years now, with results to prove it. Some changes, including a freshening of the fast bowling reserves - bring Delorn Johnson, Miguel Cummins and Jason Holder into the test squad, and a serious attempt to breathe some life back into the dull tracks that are turned out throughout the region, should see continued improvement. West Indies cricket is about entertaining, exciting positive play - not easily produced on slow, low turners.

  • POSTED BY japper on | July 12, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    Before criticizing the Windies team left, right and center we should take a broader view of where the Windies were in the last decade and how far they have improved. Yes they lost out on a Semi Final spot in the Champions trophy due to an ill advised shot and bad luck and couldn't make the finals of the Tri series in their own county. But they hardly were pushovers in both these tournaments. Yes, they still need to go a long way in becoming a consistent team. When compared with the teams which the Windies managed to put up in the last decade, this is the best they have and they need time to get better. No team in the world will take this Windies team lightly just because of the sheer talent that they possess. Consistency is an issue which they can only get better with, but the critical part is their younger players like Darren Bravo, Charles, Sunil Narine, Roach, Holder are performing. One thing is for sure, there's definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

  • POSTED BY palla.avinash on | July 12, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    To be frank some of the west indies players are more interested in t20 leagues and cash they can get rather than playing for country and will matches for there country.First they need to change it in there mind otherwise there always be fall down and charles keeping could cost them they need a specialist keeper who can bat and devon smith need to be given more chances.

  • POSTED BY PadMarley on | July 12, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    How can you win games in all conditions with that kind of a batting line up? these are all bang bangs and boom booms, whatever they are called. You need a combination of these types with at least one technically correct adaptable batsman... Look at what Sanga, Mahela, Kholi are able to do.... you need some class to adapt!! From Lara to Chandapail and to some degree sarawan used to fill this requirement!! Current bunch of players bother more about trying to act cool before having some class!!

  • POSTED BY muthu4664 on | July 12, 2013, 5:04 GMT

    It is High time for WI to focus on their Batting woes.They always had decent bowling attack but they lack good consistent batsmen.It is sad to see players like gayle & pollard consistently fail while playing for WI.New Players should be tried in their place. Players like Adrian Barath promised much but no where in the scene now.Hopefully Bravo,Simmons & charles developles & pass to the next stage. World cricket also badly need WI to be at top for keeping cricket alive. I think no other team is world beaters apart from india in current scenario.Cricket needs good competitive teams. Last decade we had at least some 3 to 5 teams who are good. Now only India only looks formidable side on Current form. Teams Like pakistan,Australia & even SA not so good as they use to be in the last decade.Let's hope this will change soon for betterment of ODI

  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    WI selectors did 2 mistakes Devon smith and Pollard had been dropped. Dwayne Smith,Kirk Edwards,Kieron Powel would be included.Johnson Charles or Lendl Simmons keeping for WI is good idea.

    MS Dhoni is keeping for India is example.

    Devon Smith is waste.Kieron Pollard also done nothing for WI in ODI's his centuries in 50 overs only came in losing games.

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  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    WI selectors did 2 mistakes Devon smith and Pollard had been dropped. Dwayne Smith,Kirk Edwards,Kieron Powel would be included.Johnson Charles or Lendl Simmons keeping for WI is good idea.

    MS Dhoni is keeping for India is example.

    Devon Smith is waste.Kieron Pollard also done nothing for WI in ODI's his centuries in 50 overs only came in losing games.

  • POSTED BY muthu4664 on | July 12, 2013, 5:04 GMT

    It is High time for WI to focus on their Batting woes.They always had decent bowling attack but they lack good consistent batsmen.It is sad to see players like gayle & pollard consistently fail while playing for WI.New Players should be tried in their place. Players like Adrian Barath promised much but no where in the scene now.Hopefully Bravo,Simmons & charles developles & pass to the next stage. World cricket also badly need WI to be at top for keeping cricket alive. I think no other team is world beaters apart from india in current scenario.Cricket needs good competitive teams. Last decade we had at least some 3 to 5 teams who are good. Now only India only looks formidable side on Current form. Teams Like pakistan,Australia & even SA not so good as they use to be in the last decade.Let's hope this will change soon for betterment of ODI

  • POSTED BY PadMarley on | July 12, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    How can you win games in all conditions with that kind of a batting line up? these are all bang bangs and boom booms, whatever they are called. You need a combination of these types with at least one technically correct adaptable batsman... Look at what Sanga, Mahela, Kholi are able to do.... you need some class to adapt!! From Lara to Chandapail and to some degree sarawan used to fill this requirement!! Current bunch of players bother more about trying to act cool before having some class!!

  • POSTED BY palla.avinash on | July 12, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    To be frank some of the west indies players are more interested in t20 leagues and cash they can get rather than playing for country and will matches for there country.First they need to change it in there mind otherwise there always be fall down and charles keeping could cost them they need a specialist keeper who can bat and devon smith need to be given more chances.

  • POSTED BY japper on | July 12, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    Before criticizing the Windies team left, right and center we should take a broader view of where the Windies were in the last decade and how far they have improved. Yes they lost out on a Semi Final spot in the Champions trophy due to an ill advised shot and bad luck and couldn't make the finals of the Tri series in their own county. But they hardly were pushovers in both these tournaments. Yes, they still need to go a long way in becoming a consistent team. When compared with the teams which the Windies managed to put up in the last decade, this is the best they have and they need time to get better. No team in the world will take this Windies team lightly just because of the sheer talent that they possess. Consistency is an issue which they can only get better with, but the critical part is their younger players like Darren Bravo, Charles, Sunil Narine, Roach, Holder are performing. One thing is for sure, there's definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

  • POSTED BY SNIFFLEATHER on | July 12, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    The ODI and T20 squads are a mess - serious thought needs to go into both, as currently, no patent direction is apparent. However, the REAL measure of a side is test cricket, the one TRUE form of the game. In this arena, the Windies are steadily progressing - and have been for two years now, with results to prove it. Some changes, including a freshening of the fast bowling reserves - bring Delorn Johnson, Miguel Cummins and Jason Holder into the test squad, and a serious attempt to breathe some life back into the dull tracks that are turned out throughout the region, should see continued improvement. West Indies cricket is about entertaining, exciting positive play - not easily produced on slow, low turners.

  • POSTED BY SamWintson92 on | July 12, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    The problem definitely lies on batting. Devon Smith, Pollard, Samuels & Dw Bravo all didn't score. WI should drop Devon Smith & blood in some potential young batsmen with decent domestic records. I see there are talks of going back to Chanderpaul. Not a bad idea though for me. He's not selected after WC 2011 with a vision to build a team for 2015. Can Chanderpaul handle both tests & ODIs till 2015 ? Only he can answer. Sarwan was tried but he disappointed.

  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    Where do i start,the same things happen over and over again with west indies cricket and its clear where the problem is,champions trophy west indies vs south africa clouds were overhead yes,look like it was going rain,but common sense tells you play the situation,pollard with a rush of blood to the head trying to force the game just gave his wicket away and then the collapse,west indies vs sri lanka tri series again same thing, simmons was well set, clouds came did the same thing,West indies cricket have to get back to being Discipline and Professional play for the love of the game,the talent is there we need to start taking it to heart,or we will be making these mistakes over and over again,we have gotten better over the years but we have to push on,and last but not least the west indies cricket board need to take most of the blame,take care of your cricketers if you want them to play for you,stop the in fighting,be Professional.

  • POSTED BY on | July 12, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    West Indies need a pivot in the 50 Overs team ,who is Shivnarine. Chanderpaul. His position should be as opener with Chris Gayle and his role is to hold one end . The stats will indicate that this opening pair has a superb record, in this form of the game. Otis and the WI board need to reconsider there strategy. We need Chanderpaul , who can adapt to the different situations that may arise.While the young blood gain experience and become masters in there own right

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | July 12, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    Pollard, smith and even Gayle too many flashers and few consistent performers