Watched by Lloyd, West Indies aims to start afresh after England humbling

West Indies lost its opening match in the 2012 and 2016 T20 World Cups and still went on to become champion. So writing it off on the back of one defeat would be premature.

After suffering its third straight loss on Saturday, skipper Kieron Pollard has two days to regroup his troops to face South Africa on October 26.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The Caribbean has been the cradle of some of the greatest names in cricketing history from Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Clyde Walcott, Garry Sobers, through to the titans of Clive Lloyd’s side, which dominated for more than a decade.

On Saturday, as defending champions West Indies suffered its third successive defeat at the ICC Twenty20 World Cup since arriving in the UAE, following losses in warm-up matches against Pakistan and Afghanistan, Lloyd, the former West Indies captain, was in attendance.

Lloyd was the captain of the world-beating West Indies from 1974-85. But here, with Kieron Pollard's men getting bundled out for the third-lowest score in men's T20 World Cup history, he could only watch on as an impassive war general.

Lloyd's stooped gait; while he focused through his thick-framed glasses, gave away nothing. After the match, Pollard said it was "unacceptable" for an international team to be bowled out for 55 like his West Indies side was in its T20 World Cup opener against England.

"There are no words to explain it," he said. "Being bundled out for 55 is unacceptable. We accept the responsibility. These sorts of games, we just have to bin it and move on. I don't think any sort of panic will come into the camp.

"In the warm-up games, sometimes the intensity is a bit down with all the teams. Even though Afghanistan and Pakistan won, the intensity wasn't still that great. For us, it's a matter of finding our straps."

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Earlier this year, West Indies toured Bangladesh. Several of West Indies' first-team players in both the Test and white-ball teams opted out of the tour, which comprised three ODIs followed by two Tests.

Lloyd captained the West Indies to two World Cup titles in 1975 and 1979. (File photo)   -  GETTY IMAGES


In a heartfelt gesture, Lloyd had scripted an open letter to the team in Bangladesh, urging the inexperienced players to believe in themselves.

"When I took over the West Indies cricket team we had lost more than twenty Test matches on a trot and there was a clear need for rebuilding and a re-purposing of the team. I also had a number of untried players, as many of you might be. But my team did not flinch from the challenge and we eventually emerged on top," he wrote.

Not shying away from the challenge and taking defeats in the stride is something the current West Indies is focusing on after recording its second-lowest T20I total ever. "We play a lot of cricket around the world, and this is not the first time something like this would have happened in any team or any environment," Pollard said.

"This is not new to any of us because you would have had it as you play a lot of cricket. With the experienced guys, in a situation like this, it's easy for us to move on." West Indies lost its opening match in the 2012 and 2016 T20 World Cups and still went on to become champion. So writing it off on the back of one defeat would be premature.

Pollard and West Indies will do well to remember Lloyd's final words from the letter when they face South Africa in Dubai on October 26. They were as much inspirational as they were prophetic. "A positive mental attitude will see you through many tight situations..." Lloyd wrote.

"Lastly, success comes before work only in the dictionary. I wish you the best of luck. Please remember most people are judged by the obstacles they overcome."

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