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By VINODE MAMCHAN
(Abu Dhabi, UAE)
The end of era of the ‘Champion’ comes to an end today, when the Trinidad walks out unto the field against Australia for the final time in West Indies colours at the Sheik Zayed Stadium from 5am this morning.
The all-rounder, a legendary figure in T20 cricket made the announcement at the end of the defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the fourth match of the ICC World T20, also at Abu Dhabi. The 36-year old has enjoyed an 18-year career in West Indian colours and was part of three World titles (two T20s and a Champions League). He said that the time has come and he will walk away, he is however expected to continue playing franchise club cricket around the world. He said: ““I think the time has come. I’ve had a very good career. To represent the West Indies for 18 years, had some ups and downs, but as I look back at it I’m very grateful to represent the region and the Caribbean people for so long. One thing I am proud about is that the era of cricketers we had we were able to make a name for ourselves on the global stage and not only do that but have silverware to show for it.”
Skipper Keiron Pollard who has struggled in the tournament has already made it clear that he will not be retiring from international cricket. “I don’t set personal goals for personal glory. I play cricket to win cricket matches each and every time. We came to the World Cup to win and we haven’t done that. Unless you’re part of decisions that are going to get rid of me or fire me or retire me, as I stand right now, I have no intentions of not playing international cricket. One tournament or a couple of bad games don’t make a summer. And for me personally, there’s a lot of mileage in my legs as an individual.”
Jamaican Chris Gayle who has also struggled in this tournament has not made any announcement as far as his future is concerned by it is very likely that the big left-hander would leave the international arena.
On the back of some of the ageing players looking to bow out, coach Phil Simmons is more than likely going to give them a final match to say goodbye. There may be some token changes to the West Indies team today but the senior players are likely to grace the field for the men in maroon in this last match.
Meanwhile, there is a contest on the cards for the Australians who still have interest at this World Cup. They will need a win to try and force themselves into the semi-finals at the expense of South Africa, who has a big clash against unbeaten England to deal with. The two nations played a five-match T20I series back in the summer as they prepared for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, and it was West Indies who dominated those meetings, running out 4-1 series winners. Australia, the 2010 runners-up, had made their last semi-final appearance in 2012 when they were eliminated by the eventual champions West Indies.
West Indies: Kieron Pollard (c), Nicholas Pooran (vc), Akeal Hosein, Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Jason Holder, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh jnr.
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.