Graeme Smith: West Indies won't make World Cup quarterfinals
Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith has predicted that the West Indies won’t make the quarterfinals of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup. West Indies are placed in Group B with South Africa, India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates.
West Indies are among the four strongest teams in Group B based on the ICC ODI Rankings, but Smith feels that the men from the Caribbean Islands have the tendency to switch off and that the minnows in the group can easily topple them.
Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, the 33-year-old said: “I'm going to take a flyer and say they (West Indies) are not going to go through. I'm going to back one of the minnows to qualify heading in. Just on their day if they don't wake up, they can easily be beaten.”
West Indies cricket finds itself in dire straits, after a contract dispute between the players, West Indies Players Associations (WIPA) and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) led to the cricket team leaving the tour to India mid-way during the ODI series. The fallout following the pull-out saw ODI skipper Dwayne Bravo sacked, with Bravo and teammate Kieron Pollard dropped from the World Cup squad.
Smith also sympathises with 23-year-old Jason Holder who was named the new ODI skipper for the West Indies and will led the side at the World Cup.
“With everything that's going on, managing personalities and getting the best out of them is going to be a challenge. So how he gets them to play as a team is going to be unique for him and it's asking a lot out of a young fast bowler,” the South African added.
The West Indians begin their World Cup campaign with a match against Ireland on February 16 at the Saxton Oval in Nelson.