West Indies cricket needs another T20 tournament.
That’s the view of both Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy, the captains whose sides contested Thursday’s Caribbean Premier League final.
On the eve of the tournament decider Wednesday, Pollard, the current West Indies T20 captain, said new talent needed exposure that the CPL is unable to provide.
“When you look at what has transpired over the last seven or eight years in the CPL, we tend to continue to keep recycling old guys because we don’t have that other tournament where we can unearth the young talent within the Caribbean,” he said.
Pollard added: “We had the Caribbean T20, now that’s no more, so we have to find ways—and in tournaments when you’re trying to win a tournament—to give these guys exposure.”
During their CPL campaign Pollard’s Trinbago Knight Riders gave six games to their Emerging Player, Jayden Seales, while Akeal Hosein forced his way into the team for seven matches while there were two games for fringe players Amir Jangoo and Anderson Phillip.
St Lucia Zouks skipper and former West Indies captain Sammy did not have the luxury of using his back-ups as often, but he also echoed Pollard’s call.
“All other leagues, even in the IPL before the draft, there is a T20 competition where you get to see the local players,” Sammy noted. “We don’t have that. You find yourself selecting guys from the four-day tournament, from the one-day tournament which is not ideal.”
He went further: “When we had the Caribbean T20 and you had Windward Islands playing versus Jamaica, Trinidad, then you see the home-grown talent that you could further develop, so in that case you don’t reshuffle guys.”
However, having commented on the limited opportunities for regional players, Pollard also took the opportunity to lament the standard of batting in the tournament.
“Yes, the pitches haven’t been up to standard in terms for batting,” he admitted, adding, however, “What I have seen as well is that the guys have not mentally changed their game to suit the conditions. And that is something that’s not only hampering us in CPL but it’s hampering us in international cricket as well because we can’t complain all the time about the pitches and we not changing as individuals. And I didn’t see the mental fortitude of the batsmen throughout the tournament in the other teams.”
In total, there were 11 scores of below 120 from the teams batting first in CPL 2020, with five of that number being below 100.
“In all honesty with TKR, we have tried to adjust to the situation that has been presented itself,” Pollard added. And he noted further: “I don’t think sometimes the wicket plays a big factor. I think it’s the mentality that you go into the game with and that’s something that from the word go, we threw straight at our dressing room.”
In particular, Pollard felt the younger batsmen did not seize their opportunities.
“They haven’t shown they have what it takes at this point in time to adjust,” he said.
This concerned the Windies skipper. He asked: “If we go to Australia where the pitches are bouncy, what will we say, we don’t get bouncy tracks in the Caribbean?”
Then he said, finally: “We can’t continue to make excuses. We go to Sri Lanka where the pitches are spinning... we get bowled out but we have these sort of pitches here; we still can’t adapt to it. So I think a little bit of adaptability needs to come into play as well rather than look for the easy way out.”