SYDNEY, (Reuters) – Team manager Richie Richardson said West Indies were wary of peaking too soon at the World Cup but there looked precious little chance of that on the evidence of their heavy defeat to England in their first warm-up on Monday.
England dismissed the twice world champions for 122 before reaching their target with more than 27 overs to spare for a thumping nine-wicket victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“Not a very good start but it’s not about the start, it’s about the finish,” Richardson told reporters.
“We are obviously disappointed with our performance but we will review it and come back. Our plan is to ease into the World Cup, we don’t want to peak too early.
“Tonight is no reflection of how we have been training or anything to do with the mood in the camp. It was just very strange that England got the better of us in that particular way.”
West Indies arrived at the World Cup in some turmoil and without former captain Dwayne Bravo after rows over player contracts led to the abandonment of a tour of India last October.
Richardson, however, said the abject manner of Monday’s defeat had come as a complete shock to him.
“I have no explanation for it because I didn’t expect it,” he said.
“People might be wondering what is going on. But I can safely say we have been playing well, the guys have been in very good spirits, it was just one of those things.
“Hopefully, you won’t see a performance like this from us again.”
The West Indies never really recovered from losing Darren Bravo and Chris Gayle for ducks in the opening over on Monday and Richardson said it would be wrong to read anything into the fact that the latter had not fielded.
“Chris Gayle has been training well, he hasn’t really complained about any injuries, he played football with the guys this morning,” the former West Indies captain added.
“He’s in good shape, we just want preserve him as much as possible and then hopefully as the tournament goes on he will go from strength to strength.”
Richardson was equally sanguine about the performance of 23-year-old captain Jason Holder, who was dismissed for one run off three balls and failed to take a wicket.
“Worried, no?” he said. “If the selectors didn’t think he couldn’t have done the job they wouldn’t have given him all that responsibility.
“So far, he’s done a good job and shown a lot of character, he’s managed to get the guys to rally around him.
“There’s nothing to worry about.”