ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Less than seven months after being appointed as West Indies white ball captain, Nicholas Pooran has called it quits, saying the decision was in his best interest and that of the team.
Pooran, the second casualty from the failed ICC Men’s T20 World Cup – coming on the heels of last month’s resignation of head coach Phil Simmons – stressed his resignation was not an indication he had given up on the ODI and T20 squad.
He said he would now be focusing on his role as a player.
“I have given the captaincy a great deal of thought since the enormous disappointment of the T20 World Cup. I took on the role with great pride and dedication and have given it absolutely everything over the past year.
“This is not me giving up. I remain ambitious and still view the captaincy of West Indies cricket as an honour that is bestowed upon you. There is no doubt I remain fully committed to West Indies cricket and I look forward to providing my services as a senior player in a supportive role,” Pooran said in a statement from Cricket West Indies on Monday afternoon.
His decision came amidst a comprehensive review by an eminent three-member panel of the squad’s early exit from the World Cup in Australia last month.
The West Indies failed to qualify for the Super12s phase (second round) after losing unexpectedly to lower-ranked teams, Scotland and Ireland.
“The T20 World Cup is something that must not define us and I will readily get involved in the upcoming reviews. And whilst it will be several months until we reconvene as a squad, I want to give CWI plenty of time to prepare for the matches against South Africa in March and beyond,” Pooran said, referring to the West Indies’ next white ball series in March 2023, which will consist of three ODIs and three T20Is.
Pooran, who first captained the squad last year in the absence of fellow Trinidadian Kieron Pollard before being appointed as skipper in May this year after Pollard quit international cricket the previous month, stressed that he continued to have faith in West Indies.
“By stepping down now as the West Indies white ball captain, I believe it is in the best interests of the team and for me personally, as I need to concentrate on what I can deliver to the side as a player. I desperately want us to be successful and the most value I can give to the team is through fully focusing on the role of consistently scoring runs at crucial times,” said the left-handed batsman who averaged nearly 29 from 15 ODIs which yielded 434 runs since being appointed as captain in May, and a meagre 18 in 15 T20 Internationals during that period.
Last year and earlier this year, Pooran led the West Indies in the absence of Kieron Pollard, recording a T20I series win against Australia at home (4-1). Overall, he captained the team for 17 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 23 T20Is and had a 3-0 ODI series win against the Netherlands and a 2-0 victory over Bangladesh in a T20I series.
“I am very thankful to CWI for the opportunity and faith shown in me and for the support that I have received by our devoted fans since taking the role, and to my teammates who have worked so hard as well. I know we have it in us to carry West Indies cricket forward and be proud,” he said.
CWI Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams thanked Pooran for his captaincy and indicated he would continue to have a major role in the squad.
“Having spoken with him I know he remains fully committed to West Indies cricket and I am convinced he has a big role to play in our future,” he said.
Last week, CWI announced that a three-member ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Review Group of independent professionals had started a holistic assessment of all aspects of the team’s preparation and performance at the global tournament.
West Indies batting legend and current Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 head coach Brian Lara; international cricket coach, South African Mickey Arthur; and Justice Patrick Thompson Jr., a High Court Judge at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court who serves as Chair of the Group, are expected to submit a report to the CWI Board of Directors with relevant insight and clear recommendations.