Exclusive: Pakistan want to make a statement, but New Zealand are my dark horse, says Clive Lloyd

New Zealand's Devon Conway (right) and teammate captain Kane Williamson during the match against Afghanistan. New Zealand will play England in the first semifinal, while Pakistan will face Australia in the second semifinal. (AFP)
New Zealand's Devon Conway (right) and teammate captain Kane Williamson during the match against Afghanistan. New Zealand will play England in the first semifinal, while Pakistan will face Australia in the second semifinal. (AFP)

Sir Clive Lloyd is in Dubai on a T20 World Cup commentary assignment for Talk 100.3 FM



by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Tue 9 Nov 2021, 11:35 PM

Watching Sir Clive Lloyd make his way gingerly to the commentary box now leaves you wondering if it’s the same man that once bestrode the playing arena like a colossus.

Of course, it’s been 35 years since Lloyd, 77, retired from the game. But the iconic former West Indies captain remains as sharp as ever while analysing the game.

During a freewheeling chat with Khaleej Times, Lloyd, who is in Dubai on a T20 World Cup commentary assignment for Talk 100.3 FM, heaped praise on UAE for wonderfully hosting the game’s showpiece event and felt Australia and New Zealand have the edge in their respective semifinals.

You are part of the T20 World Cup commentary team on Talk 100.3 FM, South Asia’s first sports and business radio station which was launched by Channel 2 Group Corporation and Fun Asia Network. How has been the experience?

It’s been good. I have done work with Mr Ajay Sethi (Chairman and MD of the Channel 2 Group Corporation) in England in the World Cup. It’s good to see that people still love radio. It’s been a very good experience for me, it’s the first time I have done radio in Dubai.

Sir Clive Lloyd at the commentary box in Dubai. (Supplied photo)
Sir Clive Lloyd at the commentary box in Dubai. (Supplied photo)

How different is it from television commentary?

On the radio, you have more to explain. On TV, you always have somebody on your ear telling you something, but I think on the radio you can explain yourself more.

How pleased have you been to see the progress UAE has made since you first came here in the early 1980s to play in Sharjah?

I think Mr (Abdul Rahman) Bukhatir has got a lot to do with what has happened here, and I think he’s proud of what he has done in Sharjah and other parts of the UAE. To hold the World Cup here, I am sure he is very proud, all the people in UAE must be happy about it because it’s been a great spectacle. It’s been a great competition. They have done extremely well. I think the curators must be given every accolade you can think of, for the quality of pitches they have prepared for the IPL and the World Cup. I have not heard any bad comments from players. Pitches have been really well prepared and they were prepared in a short space of time. They must be complimented for what they have done.

England, New Zealand, Pakistan and Australia have made it to the semifinals. Who have the best chance?

I think with England losing (Jason) Roy, they have lost a very good competitor. His replacement is (James) Vince who hasn’t played that much cricket. And in the semifinals, you have to hit the ground running. Pakistan have been playing quite well. They look like they are up for it because they want to make a statement. New Zealand are my dark horse in the sense that they always seem to be able to fight back. Even if they are behind or lose early wickets, they still can generate a good total. Australia, you can never discard, you know, over the years they have done extremely well. I think it’s going to be excellent semifinals. I think Australia and New Zealand might be the two teams because they look positive. Pakistanis are good but I just think they (Australia and New Zealand) are the two teams that might make it (to the final). But you never know. It’s cricket, the game of great uncertainty, you never know what can happen.

Pakistan's Shoaib Malik hit a brilliant half century against Scotland. (ANI)
Pakistan's Shoaib Malik hit a brilliant half century against Scotland. (ANI)

Are you surprised by India’s failure to reach the last four?

It’s unfortunate that India is not there because they had a good team and I thought they would be in the semifinals. They had everything going for them, but I don’t know, they didn’t look right in the first two games. And it’s unfortunate that they are not in the semifinals because a lot of people, not just Indians, admire their cricket and they would be disappointed.

Do you think associate countries like Namibia and Scotland deserve more chances to play against big teams?

I think in order to improve cricket in associate countries, they must get a chance to play more international cricket. If they don’t play against international teams, you would not know how good they are. I think they need to be given that sort of chances to improve themselves. Teams like Namibia and Scotland have done well in this tournament. Teams like them and Netherlands, they should be given more matches against top international teams.

What’s next for West Indies, a team that came into this World Cup with explosive T20 players? Everybody thought they had a great chance to defend the title…

I think they have to regroup and have a committee of people and take everything into consideration. And you must have a plan, no doubt about that. If you have a plan, then you work to execute that plan. And I hope that it will happen in the not too distant future.

West Indies' Chris Gayle shares a light moment with Australia's David Warner after their match in the T20 World Cup. (Reuters)
West Indies' Chris Gayle shares a light moment with Australia's David Warner after their match in the T20 World Cup. (Reuters)

You captained arguably the greatest team that ever played in cricket. But the West Indies’ decline in the past 20 years has been painful to see for every cricket fan. We can only imagine how painful it has been for you and other West Indian legends of the 1970s and 1980s…

Well, I don’t have any more tears (laughs). I have run out of tears. It’s disappointing. But, you know, we need to have a system. But probably, the system and the plans are not working. We have won the World Cups (T20 World Cups in 2012 and 2016), so it’s obvious that we have the talent, but it’s about bringing that talent together. In West Indies, we have 14 islands, separated by water, a plethora of islands. So it’s not easy. But if we have done so well in the past, we must be able to play much better cricket. Having said that, this world is a big place and we have other countries with more people than we have. They have better system. They are monetarily stronger than we are. So, in order for us to do well, winning is important for us. We can ask for what we want when we are winning. When you are losing, you can’t do that. And it’s not about winning for the sake of winning. It’s about winning to get things in the right perspective for those 14 islands. I don’t know if you know how difficult it is to travel from one island to another island. We can’t travel by bus, we can’t go by train, you know, you have to fly everywhere. It’s very expensive. So, by winning, you would be able to make our cricket a lot easier.

Under Clive Lloyd's captaincy West Indies won two World Cups in 1975 and 1979. The team featuring aggressive batsmen and hostile fast bowlers dominated world cricket in the 1970s and 1980s. (ICC Twitter)
Under Clive Lloyd's captaincy West Indies won two World Cups in 1975 and 1979. The team featuring aggressive batsmen and hostile fast bowlers dominated world cricket in the 1970s and 1980s. (ICC Twitter)

The millennials have only seen Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell. They can’t even imagine what Clive Llyod, Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge would have done to bowlers if they had a chance to play T20 cricket…

I don’t think I would have got a lot of batting (laughs), given the players you have called (laughs). They would have dominated. And Desmond Haynes, you know, he had so many (ODI) hundreds. It would have been quite interesting to see how we would have fared because we also had guys who could bowl in the death, we had guys who could bowl the opening overs. It didn’t matter what the pitch was like, they could still generate pace and bounce. And they were intelligent cricketers. We didn’t just win because we had four fast bowlers, we won because those guys were intelligent cricketers.


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