Battered Windies begin long journey home

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, CMC – A battered West Indies  began the long trek back to the Caribbean last night, still picking up the pieces from a bruising ICC Champions Trophy campaign where they failed to win a single match.

The squad was scheduled to fly out at 9 pm (3 pm Eastern Caribbean time) last night and is  expected to arrive in Barbados this evening, after connecting through London.

They depart the tournament on the heels of their latest loss, a seven-wicket defeat to India at The Wanderers on Wednesday.

It was their third successive loss in Group A following defeats to Pakistan in their opening match followed by Australia.

The side, decimated by the loss of some of the stronger players because of the ongoing contracts row, finished bottom of their group and was the only team in the tournament to finish without a win to its name.

Floyd Reifer, who endured an abysmal series with the bat with 30 runs from three innings, praised the inexperienced squad following their final match, pointing out they had gained crucial experience.

“I thought our team had a good tournament. Our bowlers did really well through the tournament. (Kemar) Roach bowled quickly, Gavin Tonge had a very good tournament as well,” said the 37-year old, recalled to lead the side after 10 years out of international cricket.

“(Nikita) Miller bowled well and our fielding was really good and as a team I thought we performed fairly well in the tournament.

“These guys are the future of West Indies cricket. This is only their sixth game as a team and the most important thing for us is to keep improving.”

The failed Champions Trophy campaign represents the second successive flop for the makeshift side, after they were hastily pulled together in July following the elite players’ boycott.

The new-look outfit, comprising several players without any international experience, were swept 2-0 in Tests and 3-0 in One-Day Internationals by minnows Bangladesh in the home series in the Caribbean.

West Indies’ next overseas assignment is a three-Test series in Australia starting in November and efforts are already underway to broker deal which would see a full strength team being selected.

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