Windies' old guard face axe after World Cup ends with whimper

·3-min read

Once international cricket's most-feared side, two-time champions West Indies exited the T20 World Cup with a whimper and with their ageing A-listers facing the axe.

A 20-run defeat at the hands of already-eliminated Sri Lanka on Thursday was a third loss in four second-round games for the 2012 and 2016 winners, following an eight-wicket thrashing by South Africa and a six-wicket beating by England.

In that game against Eoin Morgan's English side, they were bowled out for just 55, a miserable performance which set the tone for the defending champions' tournament.

Even their sole victory was a nail-biter -- a three-run win over Bangladesh, who lost five games in five, only secured on the last ball.

"I think it's heartbreaking," admitted captain Kieron Pollard.

"It's something that we have to dissect. A lot of different things have gone wrong from the start of the tournament and during the tournament."

Many would argue that the problems started before the tournament with the selection of the 15-man squad.

Chris Gayle kept his place despite being 42 years old and with just one half-century in the format in the last five years.

In four innings in the UAE, the self-styled 'Universe Boss' mustered just 30 runs.

- Not quitting -

The selection of Gayle, as well as 37-year-old seamer Ravi Rampaul, whose last T20 appearance was six years ago, split opinion in the Caribbean.

There was consternation that Gayle was not required to meet the fitness standards which ruled out highly-regarded batsman Sherfane Rutherford and T20 match-winning spinner Sunil Narine, a consistent star in the IPL.

Rampaul's selection back-fired spectacularly with a return of just two wickets in four games at an average of 49.

Pollard is 34 now. He managed 46 runs in four innings and bowled just 12 deliveries with no wickets despite being officially classed as an all-rounder.

Dwayne Bravo, 36, who like Gayle and Andre Russell is a survivor of the 2016 title-winning team, contributed just 16 runs and claimed two wickets.

"We can look at age, we can look at mobility, we can look at everything in a negative light," said Pollard.

"But my question would have been, what if it didn't happen?

"Obviously we have to face the fact that we weren't good enough, but I'm not going to sit here and blame all those factors."

There were some shafts of light for West Indies.

Shimron Hetmyer, 24, delivered on his promise with an undefeated 81 against Sri Lanka -- the third highest score of the competition so far -- while 26-year-old Nicholas Pooran twice went past 40.

Evin Lewis made a half-century against South Africa.

West Indies still have a match to play at the tournament against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Having made his international debut back in 2007 Pollard, who has never played Test cricket, will not be making any rash decisions on his future.

"I have no intentions of not playing international cricket," said the imposing Trinidadian.

"For me personally, there's a lot of mileage in my legs.

"The easiest thing for us to do is look for things to blame and chop and change and do different things.

"I accept that. I take it on the chin, but I have played a lot of good cricket in the last two years so (this tournament) is not going to lead to Kieron pulling out, I'm sorry."

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