St. John's (Antigua): West Indies team manager Sir Richie Richardson says the spirit and unity of the Caribbean side was the key factor in their enterprising run at the recent World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
The defending champions opened the tournament with a loss to India but rebounded with emphatic victories over Australia, Bangladesh and Pakistan to reach the semi-finals. However, they missed out on the final when rain and hailstorm prematurely ended their semi-final against eventual champions Sri Lanka, with them behind on Duckworth/Lewis.
“Since I have been with the team, it is the best I have felt in terms of the camaraderie within the team and the work ethics from all the players. Everybody bought into what the coach wanted, what we all wanted and we were very much on course to defending the T20 championship, but it wasn't to be," Richardson said.
One of the high points of the Windies' preliminary round campaign was their scintillating last-over win against Australia, when seemingly en route to defeat.
Requiring 12 from the last over, captain Darren Sammy blasted successive sixes off the third and fourth deliveries from seamer James Faulkner to lift the team over the line.
The former batsman said the team management had constantly promoted the value of this level of dedication.
“We played some good cricket. I've always said to the players that you are not going to win every match but as long as you give everything and the people in the Caribbean see that you're devoted, dedicated and are giving all that you have got, then that is all we ask for,” the former West Indies captain pointed out.
Chasing 161 for a place in the final, the West Indies were labouring at 80/4 in the 14th over when the weather intervened. At this stage, the Caribbean side were 27 runs behind on Duckworth/Lewis due to their slow start.
Richardson, like head coach Ottis Gibson, believes victory would have been on the cards for the Windies despite the huge task ahead of them.
“We never predicted a hailstorm and even though we were behind according to Duckworth and Lewis, we still believed that with the firepower we have, we would have won that game and would have gone all the way,” he said.