By Neto Baptiste
Fast bowling legend Sir Andy Roberts has fingered fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell and young batsman Nicholas Pooran as the only bright sparks for the regional squad at the recently ended ICC Cricket World Cup in England.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Sir Andy said both players displayed a level of maturity that was lacking from teammates throughout the tournament.
“His whole cricket improved a lot, himself and Nicholas Pooran, towards the end of the tournament. He [Cottrell] showed signs of maturity unlike Hetmyer, so I think those were two of the good things that came out of the World Cup,” Sir Andy said.
Cottrell claimed 12 wickets in nine matches from 67 overs to end as the team’s leading bowler at the tournament. Carlos Brathwaite was the second best West Indian bowler with nine wickets from eight matches, while Oshane Thomas also had nine wickets, but from nine matches.
Pooran finished the tournament with 367 runs, 17th in the standings and the best of all West Indies batsmen in the tournament. He finished ahead of Shai Hope with 274 runs and Shimron Hetmyer, third in the order with 257 runs.
Sir Andy said the team lacked both direction and planning during the tournament.
“I don’t think too much of Jason Holder’s captaincy. He speaks well, but in terms of tactics on the field I think he is found wanting and I don’t think he has the backroom staff. They weren’t experienced enough to help him so you have to look at a number of reasons why we did not go further in the tournament,” the legend said.
“They had no plans because you had to have plan A, B, and then plan C; but their only plan was to bowl short and it showed throughout the entire tournament that they felt they could win based on the amount of – I can’t say fast bowlers – the amount of people they had with long run-ups and no head,” he added.
The former bowler, one of the most feared of his time, said the team’s chances were compromised from the onset with some players being allowed to sit out warm-up matches in favour of other lucrative leagues.
“I cannot see that you’re having team bonding towards the end of the tour when the team bonding should have been done in Ireland, and I think that’s where we made our biggest blunder – not having all of our players together at least for the majority of the pre-tournament games,” he said.
“Even when the IPL had finished, a lot of them
came back home when they should have really been trying to get their game together; because you’re leaving from India where the pitches are one way, climate is one way, and going to England where it’s a completely different scenario,” Sir Andy added. West Indies finished second from bottom on five points, bettering only Afghanistan who finished the tournament without a point. West Indies won two of their nine matches, beating Pakistan in their opener and then Afghanistan, their final match of the competition.