by Carlena Knight
Cricketing legend Sir Vivian Richards has sought to give some advice to the members of the eliminated T20 West Indies team.
While Richards shared his disappointment in such an early exit for the home town team, he did extend words of encouragement to them.
Richards spoke specifically to the captain of the crew, Keiron Pollard, following what many critics would refer to as a dismal performance by the defending champions.
“Well, he has got to be pretty solid about the decision that he made. If you back yourself, believing that this is the team that is going to help you to cross the line, then you should be pretty strong about that.
“At the end of the day, we didn’t quite accomplish it. It happens in all manners of life and whatever sport you may be participating in. It does happen, so you got to look and say, hey, put my hand up and come again,” Richards counselled.
“And why I say this is because when you look and see the way that Shimron Hetmyer played and Nicholas Pooran played, these individuals are the future.
“There were a lot of other talented young players that did not necessarily make this team but I believe that they will be the ones that will be quite influential in taking us forward,” he added.
The West Indies were knocked out of the Men’s T20 World Cup on Thursday after a 20-run defeat by already-eliminated Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.
Chasing 190 to win, the West Indies finished on 169-8, with Shimron Hetmyer top-scoring with 81 not out and three bowlers taking two wickets apiece.
Richards also gave some words of encouragement for veteran player Chris Gayle.
Gayle had a disappointing performance with the bat throughout the World Cup. In his last match on Thursday versus Sri Lanka he only scored one run while in the previous match against Bangladesh, he made four runs.
Those performances were pre-empted by a 13-run effort versus England and 12-run showing against South Africa.
But Richards is calling on the fans in the region to cut Gayle some slack despite his recent performance.
“Let us try and remember this individual for the times that we had seeing him play and the enjoyment that we had. You know, he is a phenomenal player. Not just in T20 tournaments and stuff like that around the world, but also he represented West Indies at test match level at the highest in my opinion.
“He is one of the individual personalities that would have represented West Indian cricket very well,” Richards said.
“So, I am asking the fans not to just look at this tournament and to judge him from that because Chris has been a phenomenal player for us over the years and has kept the West Indies’ batting unit in terms of what we represent over the years; he has kept that flag flying high,” Richards declared.
A miserable campaign for the defending champions ended with an eight-wicket loss to Australia on Saturday, the team’s fourth defeat in five games.