Delusional! Terrible! Inexplicably poor!
These are just some of the words being used to describe the current captaincy of the West Indies team at the ongoing Cricket World Cup, where after three matches the West Indies are on three points.
Therefore, let us examine honestly at least three of the things wrong with the captain, starting with his lack of understanding of cricket tactics and being able to adjust quickly on his feet when faced with unfamiliar positions.
Examples are evident, everywhere you look on the field at times when the West Indies bowl first, most recently, the second one-dayer against Australia when, inexplicably, with the Australians falling apart at 79-5, West Indies captain Jason Holder introduced Barbadian Carlos Braithwaite to bowl medium-slow and removed his fast bowlers from the attack, apparently saving them for the latter overs.
I have to ask if West Indies coach Floyd Reifer ever considered sending that message out, that if the fast bowlers are allowed to bowl out their overs and capture more wickets, then the final part of the match, including bowling overs at the death, would have been negated. But then Reifer was the coach and Braithwaite the captain when their team won the regional one-day tournament.
At times, many are also left astounded by the fielding decisions or field placement of the West Indies team against particular batsmen. It is either no homework was done, or the players have no experience or knowledge of the strength and weaknesses of some players. One would have hoped that the West Indies captain would have ensured he and his team were properly prepared, given the additional technical staff currently travelling with the team.
The peculiarity of all of this cannot be explained any easier than with Aussie lower-order batsman Nathan Coulter-Nile’s stroke play tracking showing over 95 per cent of his shots occurring through the leg side. It was obvious the West Indies captain, the leader of the 11 West Indians on the field, was none the wiser until probably the match was done. One wonders whose homework it is to gather information on opponents; given we do not have enough experienced players on the field.
It has been reported elsewhere by some, that the current West Indies captain was not comfortable with some of the changes made by the new Cricket West Indies team. If this is true, then the fact that he also seems to be oblivious, whether voluntary or involuntary, to advice from senior players needs to be urgently addressed.
One can only hope that such opinions are fraught with error on the position of our regional cricket team leader and that deep down this tall, not so young anymore man, can rise above any inadequacies.
There was always the danger of pressure becoming too much for the already beleaguered West Indies captain, particularly with the tongue in cheek criticism by the most experienced West Indian player Chris Gayle before the Cricket World Cup. Those words are still playing off in many minds; all related to the fact that our leader of men, eleven to be exact, is rather soft and too gentile and his character needs to be toughen up. Given all of the above, quite unjustifiably, some are inclined to believe that our captain, our estranged captain, was actually smiling during the troubled poor umpiring decision over to Gayle against Australia last Thursday.
Whatever happens, there is little doubt that our current captain is the worst that we have had the pleasure to grow up with it, and this is not only based on statistics or mere team sub-par performances but just the reality. When measured against former captains Clive Lloyd (played 84, won 64), Vivian Richards (played 67 won 36), Brian Lara (played 125 won 59), Courtney Walsh (played 43 won 22), Richie Richardson (played 87 won 46), Carl Hooper (play 49 won 23), Darren Sammy (played 51 won 19), Dwayne Bravo ( played 37 won 17) and Christopher Gayle (played 53 won 17), our captain now languishes at the rear in terms of ability to think on his feet, judgement, decision-making and perhaps hardest of all, not appearing to learn from losses but instead finding excuses.
Many have stated that the current person who leads the West Indies has one thing in his favour, which is loyalty towards his teammates, no matter how bad they are and no matter the team cause. Interestingly, we have all witnessed other captains, such as Eion Morgan, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, make tough decisions in favour of the team and not a player, whereas teams that are struggling, like South Africa, have been let down by their captain Faf Du Plessis sticking with the errant idea that AB de Villiers will not be welcome back.
We can expect a quality captain to win the World Cup, so unless our man, the one entrusted with that responsibility, can change his ways and his thought processes or be guided by someone, then the fate of our West Indies team is doomed.
By the way, 27-year-old Holder has captained the West Indies in one-day cricket since 2015 to now, for 77 matches, winning 23, tying two, losing 47 and with six no results.
And just for good measure, current West Indies coach Reifer captained the West Indies in 2009, in six one-day internationals, losing all six, so at least Holder is better than Reifer, who has a 100 per cent losing record as captain.
So let us not stop praying for a miracle and that the team and individuals play good cricket because we cannot depend on the captain. The bottom line (no pun intended) is that the West Indies can still win the World Cup but they must not leave it up to the captain.