As well as some of England’s players have performed in the first two days of the Lord’s Test, the West Indies have been shambolic. They might yet escape with a draw if rain and Shivnarine Chanderpaul do something dramatic, but they should be beaten heavily, which is all they deserve on the basis of their early efforts.
Actually, stating their efforts is being generous. There has been a general lack of application in all disciplines, characterised by a carefree attitude – hands permanently stuffed in pockets, a total absence of energy in the field. They have presented the look of a beaten team from the outset.
Some might say that the team was often equally laidback in the recent series in the Caribbean, and whilst it is true that skipper Chris Gayle, through his own lackadaisical example, is happy to preside over a relaxed band of players, a May tour of England demands a different approach.
The West Indies are not the first touring party to feel the early-season chill in these shores (although this is the earliest ever start of a Test in England) and being exposed by some good seam and swing bowling in helpful conditions is no disgrace. However, the visitors should have learned what is required after being hammered by England’s Lions hopefuls at Derby, but no change in approach can be detected.
There has been too little foot movement and too many angled bats, a combination that spells disaster on the Lord’s slope. The shocking display of catching on the first evening further typified their poor focus, whilst the bowlers hardly bent their backs.
Put simply, the West Indies have not seemed bothered, which is strange considering the efforts they went to in securing their 1-0 series win over England on home soil. The captain’s last-minute arrival and ongoing political wranglings can be put forward as excuses, but the players themselves must take responsibility.
Maybe a match-saving epic from Chanderpaul or a weekend of rain will remind them as they head up to Durham that the Wisden trophy will soon slip from their possession after only a few weeks unless they dramatically improve...but don't be too quick to use your next cricket bet backing such a scenario.