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WI can rise again


Ezra Stuart

WI can rise again

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The West Indies will be a force at next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, says convenor of selectors Clive Lloyd.

Lloyd, who led the Windies to back-to-back World Cup triumphs in 1975 and 1979 said the current players, captained by all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, have the firepower to capture a third title once they play to their full potential.

“If you look at our side we have tremendous all-rounders. We have good spinners and we have batters that are just as good as any of the teams in the world,” Lloyd told reporters Thursday during a press conference at the Accra Beach Hotel.

“Now we have a lot of one-day games before the World Cup, we’re hoping to get that momentum going and get the right combination before the World Cup comes around,” he said.

But Lloyd doesn’t expect the experienced Shivnarine Chanderpaul to feature in the ODI unit even though he reckons the durable 40-year-old left-hander can continue playing Test cricket for at least another couple of years.

The West Indies, who were losing finalist in 1983, have been grouped in Pool B, alongside reigning champions, India, South Africa, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland, in the February 13 to March 28 World Cup tournament, next year.

Lloyd, who replaced fellow Guyanese Clyde Butts as chairman of selectors just ahead of the recent Bangladesh series, said he wants to see a restoration of respect for West Indies cricket.

“I just want to see our cricket back on track. I want to see that respect for West Indies cricket again and with the youngsters we have, I’m positive that can happen,” he said.

“Cricket has given me my upward mobility and I’m here because I love cricket and I love West Indies cricket and I want to see it rise again. I hope that in my last innings – because I’m in the homestretch – that I leave West Indies cricket in a healthy position,” the 70-year-old Lloyd added.

To achieve that goal, Lloyd called on the present generation of cricketers to play more domestic and regional cricket.

“Years ago [Sir] Garry Sobers and [Seymour] Nurse and all those guys would come off a plane and on Saturday afternoons go straight to their club cricket and that was the normal thing. You play with the youngsters and they get the benefit of your experience and I would like to see more of that but I am not so sure it is happening throughout the West Indies,” Lloyd opined.

The legendary former West Indies captain and middle order batsman, who scored 7515 runs in 110 Tests at an average of 46.67 with 19 centuries, said he was encouraged by the regional team’s blackwash of Bangladesh in both the three-match One-Day and two-Test series.

“Some people think that beating Bangladesh is not really a big thing but a win is a win in the Test arena and they have beaten some good teams in the past couple of months,” Lloyd contended.

Lloyd conceded that going to the subcontinent to play India won’t be as smooth-sailing as playing the Bangladeshis in the Caribbean, and blooding several new players may not be the best option.

“I see it as a great challenge for our players against India because they have some of the best players in the world. I think we have a few good young and upcoming players and there is no doubt about that. But with the tour to India we do not want to take too many young players because it is going to be a very tough tour and we are still building as such. But I can assure you once they continue to perform they will be chosen,” he said.

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