West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said that despite people spreading negativity against the team during the course of the five-match T20I series against England, they managed to defeat the tourists to emerge victoriously. Allrounder Jason Holder’s four wickets in four balls and a superb bowling display by left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein (4/30) helped the West Indies defeat England by 17 runs in the fifth and final match at the Kensington Oval here to clinch the series 3-2 on Monday (IST).
The West Indies team has been hit by rumors of rift during the series with voice notes circulating on social media attacking the credibility of Pollard. A report in a West Indies newspaper alleged victimization in the men’s team, with the treatment meted out to all-rounder Odean Smith coming under the scanner. West Indies men’s head coach Phil Simmons has quashed reports of Smith being victimized, especially after he was not included in the playing eleven for the third T20I. Following the series win on Monday (IST), Pollard said, “It’s wonderful. I thank the Almighty for giving us this victory but having said, I think every single one in that dressing room, rallied together throughout everything.
“Every time we won a game there was something negative against us but we came out today and the guys really rallied so well, well done to every single one of them and all the supporters who supported us,” said the white-ball skipper. Jason Holder became the first West Indies bowler to take a hat-trick in T20Is and only the fourth player of all time to grab four wickets in as many deliveries, as the home team had a sensational win to climax the five-match series. Holder again confirmed his status as one of the world’s leading allrounders across all formats and was adjudged ‘Player of the Match’ and ‘Player of the Series’.
He said the performance was redemption for a below-par show in the fourth T20I on January 30 (IST). A classic finish. It probably wasn’t the best of starts for myself but for me, I always try to stay in the game and you never know how this game can go,” he said. “Last night was a topsy-turvy game for me as well, starting well but not being able to finish but it’s the total opposite today, not starting well but being able to close the game out.” The West Indies team will fly from Barbados on Monday for India where they will play three T20Is and three ODIs.
The big-hitting Shimron Hetmyer remained unavailable due to fitness issues as the West Indies named a 16-member squad for the T20 series against India, keeping faith in the outfit that defeated England in a five-match home contest earlier this month. West Indies have already named the ODI squad under Pollard. Eleven players feature in both the limited-overs squads—Pollard, Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith and Hayden Walsh Jr.
Hetmyer has been left out of the squad on fitness grounds once again. Earlier this month, West Indies head coach Phil Simmons had expressed unhappiness at Hetmyer’s attitude towards physical fitness. The 25-year-old swashbuckler failed a fitness test prior to the series against England and has still not been found up to it. Coach Phil Simmons had stated that it was “heart-wrenching” to see him continuously “letting down himself and his teammates.”
“The team has been doing well in the Betway T20I Series against England in Barbados and we decided to stick with the same group of players. They have demonstrated great skill and fight and we expect the same kind of performances on the tour of India,” chief selector Desmond Haynes said while announcing the squad during the weekend. West Indies put up an impressive showing against England, winning the five-match T20Is series 3-2. Last week, team India announced its squad, giving young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi his maiden call-up, while senior wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav also returned to the white-ball setup after a knee surgery.