'It's hurting, and it's hurting badly' - Pollard places blame on batting group after defeat to Ireland
Despite result, West Indies captain is pleased with the performances of Odean Smith, Romario Shepherd and Shamarh Brooks
A 2-1 ODI series defeat at home to Ireland marked "a very, very sad day" for West Indies cricket according to Kieron Pollard as he pulled up his batters for failing to post good enough totals.
"I can safely tell you that it's hurting, and it's hurting badly," he said after the decider in Kingston, which West Indies lost by two wickets.
"Obviously it's no secret. Disappointed the way that we played. Disappointed the way we batted throughout the entire series. That is the main reason why we would have faltered," Pollard said. "We weren't able to put enough runs on the board. The one game where we were scored 269, we were able to get over the line. But 229 and 212 at this international level is totally unacceptable."
Asked whether the problem with the batters was technical or psychological, Pollard pointed in both directions, and beyond.
"I think it is a combination of everything. I think, overall, holistically, I think we have a batting problem, with all the words as you mentioned - mentally, technically, being able to assess situations, conditions, and play appropriate shots that is needed at that point in time," he said. "Again, as I have stated, it's not just the 11 guys that are here, or the 15 guys that are here, it's around the Caribbean, and we continue to, sort of, reward a guy going to Super50 and score a couple of hundred runs and then, you know, he has to play, or he has to get into the team.
"We chop and change different individuals at different times, but I don't think we are actually addressing the real problem. But, having said that, it's always easier to, sort of, cast blame or put the responsibility on the guys that you are seeing. And as I said, as a leader, and as a leader of this team, obviously I can take that mantle and I can take that responsibility that we haven't done well and that is not something we can hide from.
"But as I have said before, it's not just here, it's overall across all formats, if you be totally, totally honest."
Even before the series had started, Pollard had criticised the West Indian players' attitude towards fitness, calling it "an issue that has been plaguing us for the last couple of years". Shimron Hetmyer, in fact, missed the series after failing to meet the expected standards. The problem, according to Pollard at least, goes deeper.
That said, West Indies had a few reasons to be happy. Shamarh Brooks, on ODI debut, hit 93 in the first match and totalled 137 from three innings at a strike rate of 86.16. Odean Smith contributed handy, and quick, runs while also doing well with the ball. Romario Shepherd's 3 for 50 in the first game was impressive too.
"Very, very proud of those two individuals [Smith and Shepherd]," Pollard said. "They have come in and they have shown, in the last series in Pakistan and even this series here, that they want to be at the international level. Obviously they are a bit rough on the edges - I am talking about somebody like an Odean Smith. But you can see the raw talent and… what we see around the world is that persons take that sort of raw talent and good players and make them into great players. That is something we need to do with some of the individuals that we have here. But are we willing to do that?
"Romario, he has come in, diligent, hard worker, honest worker, does whatever the team requires, and he shows that he wants it. So well done to these two guys.
"And Brooksy, coming into this series, getting a 90 and missing out on a hundred, (then) a 40-odd, missing out today - again, well done to him, but we need to be hungry in order to grab our chances. He would have been one who hadn't gotten a chance and he had the perfect opportunity here to cement his place. And to the other guys - we need to work harder."
West Indies' next engagement, again at home, is against England - a series of five T20Is from January 22-30.