Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former West Indies wicketkeeper Jeffrey Dujon has admitted that it would be a “terrible embarrassment” if the West Indies failed to automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
The West Indies are currently in a battle with Pakistan for the final automatic qualification spot, but should Pakistan beat the men from the Caribbean 3-0 in the upcoming ODI series like they did in the Twenty20 series, they will claim eighth spot, while the West Indies will sit in ninth.
The cut-off date for the automatic qualification is September 30, 2017, and all ODI nations that are outside the top eight on the rankings will have to take part in a qualifying tournament in Bangladesh. For the West Indies, it would be a major disappointment if they failed to automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup as they already fell short of featuring in the Champions Trophy next year.
“It would be a terrible embarrassment for West Indies to not automatically qualify,” Dujon told ESPNcricinfo. “It would be damaging for any team who has tasted what it’s like to be in the top echelon of world cricket.
“As someone who played in a very successful era, it’s very embarrassing but it has to be an indication of exactly where we are at and something needs to be done. It hurts.
“We can’t be fooled by the fact that we’ve just won two tournaments – the World T20 and the U-19 World Cup – the fact we are still struggling to qualify shows we shouldn’t get carried away with that.”
Meanwhile, Dujon also conceded that he was stunned by the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) decision to sack head coach Phil Simmons prior to the team’s trip to the United Arab Emirates, where they are playing Pakistan.
The WICB cited “differences in culture and strategic approach” as the reason behind their decision to terminate Simmons, but Dujon believes that the board’s explanation was a “bit sketchy”.
“The sacking of Phil Simmons was a surprise. I’m not sure we have the real reasons, what we were given were a bit sketchy,” he said during a visit to London for a Lord’s Taverners event honouring wicketkeepers. “It’s disappointing for me that we haven’t been able to find a settled situation in the coaching area which would give the team some direction. It’s a setback. Jason Holder as captain also still has a lot to prove so things are in a pretty unstable situation now.”
Even though the West Indies lost their last Test series against India 2-0, Dujon feels there is a lot of talent in the squad, especially due to the fact that Roston Chase made a match-saving maiden century and the impressive bowling performances by Miguel Cummins and 19-year-old Alzarri Joseph.
“The talent is still there, it’s a matter of who is going to work with them to help them develop,” Dujon said. “We are still in a situation where we are trying to solve the problem from the top down rather than the bottom.
“A promising move recently is that it seems we are going to have more A-team tours which is vital for development. They are meaningful when you go and play in countries who are better than you, it gives you a better gauge of where you are at. That has to be focus, as expensive as it may be, and hopefully we’ll have a better quality of player coming through to the top level in the next four or five years. Right now, some of the players who have come to the top level are not the complete article.”