Clive Lloyd, the legendary former West Indies captain, has put pen to paper in order to try to instil belief in the current crop of players on tour in Bangladesh.
The Guyanese icon, who made his international debut aged 22 against India in 1966, has penned an open letter to the squad in a bid to motivate the inexperienced players.
A total of 11 players originally selected for the tour, which starts with a one day warm-up game in Savar on 18 January, are missing and leaves a remarkable total of nine newcomers in the 15-man ODI squad.
Former left-handed batsman Lloyd cited a tale about his debut in his letter, where he explained he was told of his inclusion less than an hour before play commenced.
After scoring 82 and an unbeaten knock of 78 to help the Windies take the series lead, he played a major part in the tourists securing the three match Test series 2-0 and finished among the top five scorers. The rest is history as Lloyd became a solid batsman and highly successful captain.
Lloyd’s open letter to the West Indies players reads:
I thought that I would send you this message as I’m aware that you’re embarking on a tour, which you probably weren’t prepared for and perhaps you feel like you’ve been thrown in the deep–end and that people expect you to stand and deliver.
What you should understand is that you have a chance of cementing a permanent place in the West Indies team, and not merely filling a gap.
You have been chosen on merit. This is your destiny. It is your opportunity to fulfil it. This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your talents and skills to the world, and prove to all and sundry that you’re not second-class cricketers. You can step up to the plate.
In 1966 I was not selected in the original Test team. Fortuitously [for me] Seymour Nurse got injured and 45 minutes before the 1st Test I was informed that I was playing, and I played 35 straight Test matches because I performed well. We won the series.
You see I recognised there was an opportunity to demonstrate my talent and capabilities, and I seized it with both hands. You have found yourselves in exactly the same position, therefore the world is your oyster.
Moreover, playing for the West Indies is one of the highest honours a citizen of the region can achieve. I believed it then and I believe it now. This is your opportunity to prove yourself worthy of your selection and you should be proud to wear that West Indies blazer and cap.
You are representing one of the best cricketing nations, which possesses an enviable record of which we are very proud. Our records include 29 Test matches without losing. Eleven straight wins. For 17 years straight we never lost a Test match.
This is just a snapshot of our exploits and achievements in the past. It took hard work, commitment and a sense of purpose to realise them.
Above all, I would advise that you pay close attention to your levels of fitness and seek at all times, whether as a batsman or a bowler, to refine your techniques and skills. My team did it and I am confident you can too.
You now have the opportunity to improve our Test match rating and instil some pride again in the standard of our cricket. This is not just my expectation, but that also of the entire Caribbean region. Your victory would be theirs also.
Your trip to Bangladesh might look daunting but this task is not insurmountable. It is the ideal opportunity. With your determination, professionalism, youth and tenacity you can begin the dawn of a new era under the [Test] captaincy of the very astute Kraigg Brathwaite.
What I’m saying to you is not idle speculation, it is based on my own experience. When I took over the West Indies cricket team we had lost more than 20 Test matches on the trot, so 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.
I’m confident you can begin the necessary rebuilding of the West Indies team. We did it because we believed in ourselves. You can too. Self belief is the first step to success.
I would like you to remember this adage: In order to gain altitude you must have the right attitude.
A positive mental attitude will see you through many tight situations, which I’m sure you will encounter during this tour.
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.
Lloyd’s message is in stark contrast to the words from Phil Simmons, the West Indies head coach, who has admitted that hosts Bangladesh are the clear favourites against his depleted contingent in the upcoming five-match series.
With an inexperienced line-up, which includes the notable absence of Test skipper Jason Holder (Barbados) and One Day International (ODI) captain Kieron Pollard (Trinidad), the Windies are lacking confidence. And following their tepid displays in England last July and being outplayed by New Zealand in December, there is little hope. However, the Windies have been involved in competitive matches whereas Bangladesh last played when Zimbabwe were the visitors in March.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) will sorely miss their experienced leaders Holder and Pollard. Other players who declined the opportunity to tour Bangladesh, due to COVID-19 related concerns, are Darren Bravo (Trinidad & Tobago), Shamarh Brooks (Barbados), Test vice captain Roston Chase (Barbados), Evin Lewis (Trinidad), Shai Hope (Barbados), Shimron Hetmyer (Guyana), Nicholas Pooran (Trinidad) and Sheldon Cottrell (Jamaica). And Jamaican all rounder Fabian Allen was unavailable for the latest tour, due to personal reasons.
Opener Brathwaite takes over the Test team from his compatriot Holder, with Jamaican batsman Jermaine Blackwood installed as vice captain.
Jason Mohammed, the former Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies A team captain, is set to lead the limited overs side with batsman Sunil Ambris (St. Vincent) as vice captain.
The trio of ODIs will be the first matches in the Windies’ ICC World Cup Super League campaign, which offers the opportunity to qualify for the lucrative ICC World Cup 2023. While the two Tests will form part of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Test Championship.
WI Test squad: Jermaine Blackwood (Jamaica), Nkrumah Bonner (Jamaica), Kraigg Brathwaite (Barbados), John Campbell (Jamaica), Rahkeem Cornwall (Antigua), Joshua Da Silva (Trinidad & Tobago), Shannon Gabriel (Trinidad & Tobago), Kavem Hodge (Dominica), Alzarri Joseph (Antigua), Kyle Mayers (Barbados), Shayne Moseley (Barbados), Veerasammy Permaul (Guyana), Kemar Roach (Barbados), Raymon Reifer (Barbados), Jomel Warrican (St. Vincent)
ODI squad: Sunil Ambris (St. Vincent), Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua Da Silva, Jahmar Hamilton (Anguilla), Keon Harding (Barbados), Chemar Holder (Barbados), Akeal Hosein (Trinidad), Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Andre McCarthy (Jamaica), Jason Mohammed (Trinidad & Tobago), Kjorn Ottley (Trinidad & Tobago), Rovman Powell (Jamaica), Raymon Reifer (Guyana), Hayden Walsh Jr (Antigua)
WI Tour schedule
18 January | One day warm-up match, Savar
20 January | 1st ODI, SBNCS, Dhaka
22 January | 2nd ODI, SBNCS, Dhaka
25 January | 3rd ODI, ZACS, Chattogram
28-31 January | Four day warm-up match, M.A. Aziz Stadium, Chattogram
3-7 February | 1st Test Match, ZACS, Chattogram
11-15 February | 2nd Test Match, SBNCS, Dhaka
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