Thumbs up for captain Pollard and coach Simmons
THE EDITOR, Madam:
On Sunday, the Kieron Pollard-led West Indies defeated Ireland in the third and final One Day International (ODI). The victory saw them whitewashing the Irish and also takes them level on ratings point with the eighth-ranked team, Sri Lanka.
This series victory over the Irish follows on the heels of the 2-1 loss to the number-two ranked Indians on their home soil. That was a very competitive series that saw the Indians pulling out all the stops in the decider to come out on top. The series loss to India was preceded by the series victory against Afghanistan, with West Indies whitewashing the Afghans 3-0.
Kieron Pollard and coach Phil Simmons have been at the helm of the West Indies since the latter part of 2019. The team’s performance in these last three series, though not totally up to par, has shown worthy improvements and growth in the talent pool.
The leadership of the team should be given credit, not because of whitewashing the Afghans and Irish or challenging the Indians on their home turf, but for having clear plans and roles for team members, allowing them to execute their game with a clear mind.
The inclusion of leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr is also commendable and shows vision and foresight. While he has not set the international scene on fire, he has shown enough that he could develop into that wicket-taking spinner the team lacks.
Of concern, though, is the batting of the captain. His leadership thus far has been good –field placements, bowling changes and his overall tactics as a captain has been commendable; however, as a batsman more is expected. He has chosen to play the role of a senior lower-order batsman; meaning, he needs to up the tempo if needed or settle in and build an innings where required. Playing this role, though, means he needs to get the team over the line. It’s a challenge, but it’s one he needs to face head-on and come up trumps.
In the recent past, West Indies has had captains whose permanent place on the team was questionable at best, mere passengers. Pollard needs to be careful he doesn’t find himself ending up in this category.