The final weeks of this World Cup, says Clive Lloyd, will be thrilling to watch – it’s just a shame West Indies won’t be part of it.
Although the West Indies will bid farewell to the World Cup against Afghanistan on Wednesday, I will be glued to the TV to see what happens in the next two weeks. We seem set for a thrilling finale.
Australia are already assured of a place in the semi-finals and India are likely to join them.
They have been the two stand-out teams for me at this World Cup. They have understood the conditions better than any of the others and have strolled through. That is the key here.
The wickets in this tournament have been excellent. They have provided an even contest between bat and ball and not become the batsmen-friendly surfaces some suggested they could be. Australia and India are at home on them and that will be so important when it comes to the knock-out games.
Australia have a lot of the old guard still going strong and that includes Mitchell Starc. He is one of the best around right now, knows these conditions and is swinging the ball perfectly. It will be tough for any side to face him, while Alex Carey – the wicket-keeper – could well turn out to be the star of this World Cup.
Carey was a relative unknown beforehand but he bats with such maturity. He has freedom to attack but also the technical skills needed to find the boundary. He is a bolter and I have loved watching him play.
India have a selection dilemma. England played the right kind of game against them by attacking the spinners and they need to strengthen their batting lower down the order.
England and New Zealand are likely to join those sides, while we can never rule out the exciting Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The Tigers have, for me, the best player in this tournament in Shakib Al Hasan. His bowling has been decent but his batting has been from a different planet – just ask the West Indies.
It’s been a tournament of ‘what ifs’ for my team and their defeat to Sri Lanka was another example. Nicholas Pooran was outstanding in the run-chase but lost his wicket at just the wrong time.
He has done very well in this tournament and is someone we can really build around going forward. He has a lot of things to learn but the raw ingredients are there for him to go on and become a fine player for the West Indies over the next few years.
I think what he has shown he’s learned is that you have to mix aggression with caution. It is no good making 70 and then holing out at deep mid-off. You have got to play smart cricket. When you hit it in the air, you have to find a space where there isn’t anyone there. Hit in the ground and you are still there.
When you look at it, we have the talent with the bat. It’s far from doom and gloom. Sure, we have to learn from the mistakes and rectify them but I am very optimistic. We have had two centurions at the tournament and it really could, and should, have been four or five.
Hopefully a couple can produce against Afghanistan but it will not be easy. They have given a very good account of themselves in stages and if they put a whole performance together, it will be a good game.
(International Cricket Council)