West Indies most successful Captain Clive ‘Super Cat’ Lloyd said the hosts of the ICC World T20 Championships can reap good rewards if they play intelligent cricket.
Lloyd said though the team’s bowling weakness was glaring against the English and the middle order crumbled frequently after good starts, it comprises many talented players such as Darren Sammy, and as such must tighten up in all departments. He referred to the performance of all-rounder Sammy, who churned out two man-of-the-match performances in as many matches.
England piled on 191-5 from their 20 overs after they were at one point 88-4 after 10 overs; Eoin Morgan (55) and Luke Wright (45*) were responsible for the 95-run fifth wicket stance from 9.2 overs.
“With the talent they have in the team if they can play good, intelligent cricket coupled with the effort that Sammy has been putting in they can go very far. Our bowling has been exposed so we [West Indies] need to tighten up on that and I am wondering if somebody might make a difference; we do have a good side for this sort of cricket”, the veteran of 110 Test matches explained. The left-hander, who made 7551 Test runs from 175 innings at an average of 46.67, also emphasised that although T20 cricket can go in any team’s favour, the Caribbean side which qualified with two wins under differing circumstances, has to maintain its discipline if it is to better its last year’s semi-final showing.
Lloyd also warned that some players may experience unexpected injuries; noting that some players did not look as bright as they normally do in the fields. He said this could be due to fatigue from the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) which may have caused some burn-out. “It’s fast and furious cricket but you still have to keep your head on. A lot of people feel that it is all fours and sixes; you can still play normal cricket like [Mayela] Jayawardena did. He did not slug the ball, he placed it nicely and played some very crisp shots and he got a hundred. We seem to think, you know, that if Chris [Gayle] doesn’t give us a very good start we tend to lose impetus and there will be situations where he won’t come off and therefore they (the middle order batsmen) will have to show their wealth and say ‘let’s take over it’s not a one-man show’ and play together,” he said.
Lloyd, a middle order batsman of 19 centuries and 39 half centuries who led the WI team to the first two World Cup titles, reasoned that the top teams in the tournament at the moment are not easily differentiated as it relates to the calibre of players. He followed up by saying that since many of the players are constantly playing against and with each other’s teams, the gap separating the teams has been somewhat closed.
“A slight error even with your field placing, which has to be precise, running in from the boundary, getting behind the wicket after your delivery or judging run correctly can put you back so they have to be on their game,” Lloyd maintained.
During the first round of preliminary matches at the Guyana National Stadium rain affected many matches and consequently some teams benefited significantly from the application of the Duckworth/Lewis Method. West Indies were only required to score 30 from 22 balls (60 for victory), after England had posted 191 batting first, when rain intervened for 81 minutes.
Lloyd, who is a council member on the ICC, indicated that if there is a better system then it should be tested; but until that time people should not say that the system is bad especially since it would have been in use for some time now. He acknowledged that it is unfair that the system will benefit some and hurt others but by that token other systems would have been tried and failed. “If there is a better system well let them have a better system. They have tried a lot of other systems and now there is sour grapes when you lose. I know England posted a very big score and they probably could have won but that doesn’t mean if make a 190 runs you will win the game because there are other factors that must be considered,” Lloyd added. However, he posited that the key to beating the Method is to get as many runs as possible.