‘Blame us, not the change Of coach’

West Indies’ batsman Shai Hope has dismissed suggestions that the last-minute coaching change which saw Floyd Reifer taking up the job as head coach a month before the start of the ICC World Cup, was to blame for the Windies’ poor showing in the tournament.

The regional team won just two of their nine matches in the competition and finished ninth out of the ten teams with five points.

There had been much speculation that Cricket West Indies’ president Ricky Skerritt’s decision to remove Richard Pybus as head coach and replace him with Reifer just weeks before the start of the ICC World Cup, contributed to the team’s dismal performance.

However, following the Windies’ victory over Afghanistan on Thursday in their last match, Hope maintained the coaching change did not affect the players in any way.

“Regardless of what happened behind the scenes, we have to go out there and play cricket,” Hope said during a press conference after beating Afghanistan by 23 runs.

“It doesn’t matter what happened the week before, the day before, two years before. It’s about crossing that line and playing the hardest you can for the region.”

Hope said it was hard to put a finger on exactly what went wrong in England, especially after a promising start to the competition where they comprehensively defeated Pakistan.

“If I knew the answer to that, I reckon we’d be in the semis. It’s just one of those things. As I said, we didn’t play the better cricket on the day, and in a tournament like this, you have to basically play your best game each game.

“We had them [Australia]… and basically allowed them to get that total. And I still think that we had a decent batting platform to chase runs,” he contended.

“We didn’t play these situations as well as we could have. I thought that we let the game get away from us sometimes, and that cost us. If you have a team down and out you have to really grind them to the end.”