There is no set of players that dominate the world of franchise T20 cricket like the West Indians. Every league in the world, from the IPL to the more recently sprouted Euro T20 slam, wants a piece of those larger than life superstars. But when they come together as a West Indies team, they haven’t always had a lot of success. Sure they are the reigning T20 World Champions, but since that heady night in Kolkata three and a half years ago, they’ve played 33 games in the shortest format and lost 20 of them.
Carlos Brathwaite had an explanation for this odd turn of events. Addressing the press ahead of a three-match series against India that begins on Saturday, he said that for a team to succeed, the players needed to spend a lot more time together in the lead-up to every series.
“Leading into the next three World Cups, the two T20 and the 50-over World Cup, and just spending more time together and having more informal chats and actually learning off each other.”
Brathwaite’s formula for WI success
“I guess in the first part of my tenure [as T20 captain], we had a few one-off games, and those don’t really help the standings much,” he said. “And then when we had series with three games, it was always difficult to get the players together. We didn’t get the right frame of time to properly prepare. Obviously, preparing for a World Cup, you have adequate preparation. Looking back to the last [T20] World Cup, we had a two week camp in Dubai. So we had the team together for a period of time. We had spent time together on and off the field, on and off the training pitch, spent more time together as a team, as a family and then when we headed at the World Cup we had warm-up games as well and then the tournament. So right there and then, we probably had two and a half weeks more together than we have normally.”
This lack of team bonding time may have impacted West Indies at the 50-over World Cup as well.
“We didn’t think we were doing all the things necessary on and off the field as a team to be successful consistently,” Brathwaite said. “And as a result, as we saw in the World Cup, we had good performances, like in the game against Pakistan, but as a team we did not get it together and we lost some vital moments in key games.”
But now, West Indies, who are ranked No. 9 in T20Is by the ICC, are looking to make some corrections. “I guess starting from this series and moving forward,” Brathwaite said. “Looking forward to the World T20s in 2020 and 2021 and the World Cup in 2023, I think we have to put certain protocols and certain standards in place off the field that once we are disciplined enough and follow it off the field, it should translate itself on the field and give us the best chance to win those one percenters and those key moments.
“We’re welcoming back Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard into the fold who have a wealth of T20 experience as well. So in our conversations so far, it’s been about us having more informal chats as a team, spending more time together speaking about cricket and for the younger guys to learn off the older guys and as a result the older guys to learn off the yonger guys as well. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t teach an older guy.
“So that’s one of the main things we’re looking forward to developing and implementing leading into the next three World Cups, the two T20 and the 50-over World Cup, and just spending more time together and having more informal chats and actually learning off each other. I think once we get those things right on the field, when we get on the field, it’ll be easier for us to band together and have more consistent performances.”