LONDON – Legendary former captain Clive Lloyd believes Nicholas Pooran possesses the “raw ingredients” upon which West Indies can build their one-day side, in the wake of their latest World Cup fiasco.
The 23-year-old left-hander stroked a scintillating 118 off 103 balls to notch his maiden international hundred as West Indies crashed to their sixth defeat of the World Cup with a 23-run loss to Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street.
West Indies were still in with a chance at the death but Pooran’s dismissal at the start of the 48th over, sealed the Caribbean side’s demise.
“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,” Lloyd wrote in his ICC tournament column.
“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.”
Pooran arrived at the World Cup with a single One-Day International under his belt but has played all of his side’s eight matches, to top the aggregates with 309 runs at an average of 51.
Instructively, no other West Indies batsman has passed 250 runs in a campaign which has gone sideways ever since their opening win over Pakistan a month ago at Trent Bridge.
Pooran’s hundred has been just one of two in the tournament for West Indies – Carlos Brathwaite scored the other against New Zealand in Manchester last week – but Lloyd believes this has not been a reflection of the quality in the batting group.
“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,” said Lloyd, who led West Indies to historic World Cup triumphs in 1975 and 1979.
“We have had two centurions at the tournament and it really could, and should, have been four or five.”
West Indies lie ninth in the 10-nation standings on three points with one game remaining against minnows Afghanistan at Leeds on Thursday.
Interestingly, the Windies have lost three of their five ODI meetings with Afghanistan, including their last two at the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe last year.
And Lloyd warned that a victory over the Asians would not be straightforward.
“Hopefully a couple [players] can produce against Afghanistan but it will not be easy,” the 74-year-old Lloyd cautioned.
“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.” (CMC)