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West Indies worst Test cricket team in last 50 years: Geoffrey Boycott

West Indies have received scathing criticism by former cricketers after Jason Holder’s side crumbled in the Day/Night Test within three days at Birmingham to give England a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test cricket series

cricket Updated: Aug 21, 2017 15:27 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
England vs West Indies,England cricket team,West Indies cricket team
West Indies suffered an innings and 209-run drubbing in the Edgbaston Day-Night Test against England and former cricketers have criticised the performance of Jason Holder’s side.(AFP)

A few decades back, former England captain Tony Greig did the perennial mistake of questioning the cricketing calibre of West Indies. Besides questioning their brand of cricket, he also intended to make them ‘grovel’. By the end of the five-match series, which Clive Llyod’s men won 3-0, Greig had marks stamped on his body by the likes of Andy Roberts, Wayne Daniel and Michael Holding and he was forced to grovel.

However, that amount of aggression on the field is probably a distant dream if expected out of the current lot. The manner in which the current side surrendered to England in the first Test at Birmingham, had the likes of England great Geoffrey Boycott and Curtly Ambrose lash out at the West Indies for an “embarrassing” show.

Boycott, who had played against Lloyd’s men at one point, too lambasted the side. Besides stating that this side isn’t the right team to play against before the England side takes on Australia in the Ashes, Boycott wrote in The Daily Telegraph: “This West Indies lot are the worst Test match team I have seen in more than 50 years of watching, playing and commentating on cricket,” he wrote in The Telegraph.

“They can’t bat and can’t bowl. I take no pleasure out of saying this as I played against some of the greatest players the world has ever seen wearing the maroon cap of the West Indies. It is a cricketing tragedy to see the West Indies like this and there is no gloating over them losing. We all want England to win Test matches but we should not be euphoric about this. It is just sad to see a once-proud cricket Test team lower than any I have ever seen before.”

Writing for The Daily Mail, Ambrose, the former West Indian pacer who picked up 405 wickets in 98 Tests, stated, “In the end it was totally embarrassing, I never saw any aggression from the West Indies players throughout the three days. There was no belief that they could compete, let alone beat England. They seemed to be waiting for England to make mistakes and at this level that is not going to work. Trust me, it was painful to watch. What concerns me is that I do not think these players know what West Indies cricket means to West Indians and followers of the global game.”

Trying to scale the mammoth 514/8 (declared) put up by England in their first innings, West Indies were bundled out for 168 and 137 in their two innings. Their total stay on the pitch was less than three hours of what skipper Alastair Cook had spent while scoring his 243 as they lost 19 wickets on the third day of the day/night Test.

Ambrose, who shared the spoils with Courtney Walsh in the 90s, was also the bowling coach of the side at one point but couldn’t inspire them to shrug off the ‘underdog’ tag that they now carry around apart from the T20I format.

“I was with the team for two years as bowling coach and we tried to educate them about our heritage. I tried to tell them what West Indies cricket meant. I talked about the pride and passion in representing the region and our people,” he wrote. “I could talk to them all day but once they stepped over that rope they were on their own and if they were not prepared to listen, it was simply a waste of time. It does hurt. And it has reached a point where it is very embarrassing.”

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 13:59 IST