West Indies' preparations under fire April 9, 2007

Lloyd defends mini-break but Croft hits out

Cricinfo staff



Clive Lloyd says the ten-day break was always planned © Getty Images

Clive Lloyd, the West Indies manager, has defended the controversial decision to grant his squad a mini-holiday despite standing on the brink of World Cup elimination. After last weekend's Super Eights defeat to Sri Lanka in Guyana - the third loss in a row - some players went back home, before reassembling in midweek.

"This is something that was asked for before the tournament started," he told the Barbados Nation newspaper. "It was only a few of them who went home anyway. It wasn't a case where everybody just walked off in frustration. You can't really practise for ten days straight."

But whether you can practise for ten days straight or not, Colin Croft believes the squad weren't even practising properly during designated times. In a swinging attack in the Guyana Chronicle, Croft, the former West Indies player, pointed the finger at the management for instilling a poor attitude into the players.

"I put the entire blame of the West Indies players not seeming to care on the team management, including Lloyd and the rest of the West Indies Cricket Board," he wrote. "Even before the fatal game against Sri Lanka, the West Indies' practice session was something to behold, or perhaps not to. It was lacklustre as ever, with players even complaining the sun was hot. Are these people for real?"

Lloyd would at least admit that West Indies have not been playing well. "We would have to be silly to think we are doing well at this stage, and every one of the boys knows he can do better. So let's hope that they can do so."

The hosts face South Africa in a must-win Super Eights match in Grenada on Tuesday where a defeat will virtually eliminate them from the World Cup. After Tuesday's match, the West Indies travel to Barbados where they will face Bangladesh on April 19 and England on April 21 at the refurbished Kensington Oval. Since their all-win record in the group stage, the West Indies have lost to Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka - defeats which have left Caribbean fans fuming.

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