WEST INDIES cricket team coach Phil Simmons is not worried by the inconsistent returns, with the bat, from Nicholas Pooran, vice-captain of the WI T20 squad.
During the 2021 Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Pooran, who served as captain for the Guyana Amazon Warriors, tallied 263 runs in ten innings at an average of 32.88, and a strike rate of 163.35.
And, in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the left-handed stroke maker struggled miserably for his team Punjab Kings, with 85 runs in 11 innings at an average of 7.72 and a strike rate of 111.84. Pooran’s form was such that he was dropped from Punjab’s last IPL game against the Chennai Super Kings last Thursday.
During a zoom media conference on Monday, Simmons said, “I’m not too worried about Nicholas. I think Nicholas has been batting well in CPL. There were a lot of pressure there and there will be more pressure here. He’s doing all what he has to do.”
Fast bowler Oshane Thomas and leg-spinner Hayden Walsh, who had disappointing CPL displays with Barbados Royals (both were dropped from the team during the 2021 tournament), are part of the 15-man team, while experienced left-handed batsman Darren Bravo, who has been a bit-part member of the WI T20 team, is among the reserves.
Simmons said, “Oshane bowled well in the games that he played (in the CPL). He bowled quick, which is what we want him to do and which he continues to do. I’ve had feedback from Rajasthan Royals (in the IPL).”
Thomas was named as a replacement in the Rajasthan squad during the second half of the IPL, but did not play a game in the UAE.
The WI coach added, “Hayden was the Man of the (Series against) Australia. Darren Bravo was the next batsman on the line, as an out-and-out batsman, who has done well in T20 cricket and one-day cricket. That are the things we have to look at when we’re trying to balance off the team.”
When the WI team was announced, lead selector Roger Harper mentioned that batsman Sherfane Rutherford, all-rounder Odean Smith and veteran off-spinner Sunil Narine were not considered since they failed to meet the Cricket West Indies (CWI) fitness requirement.
According to Simmons, “It is a concern. Quite a few of them, we’ve had a chat with now or again. They know that we want them to be a part of the squad but there are certain criteria that have to be met. It’s a concerning thing but, again, the players have to take responsibility.”
Left-arm pace bowler Obed McCoy struggled with shin splints during the T20 home series against Australia and Pakistan, as well as the CPL.
“Obed has been doing quite a bit of training in St Vincent before leaving (for the UAE),” said Simmons.