'Some careers are on the line' - Sammy
Darren Sammy has conceded that careers could be on the line after West Indies' 2-0 series defeat, including his own position as captain. His team's hopes disappeared in a session on the third day in Hamilton as they were skittled for 103, and it was far from a one-off implosion from the West Indies batsmen.
Sammy, as he has throughout, spoke honestly and openly while reflecting on another heavy defeat - West Indies' fourth in five matches - but there was a hollow look in his eyes. When asked if he was "angry", he said he wasn't that type of person - "I have good control over my emotions" - but whereas in Wellington, he watched his side fold in seamer-friendly conditions that favoured New Zealand, in Hamilton, there was little in the surface for the pace bowlers.
Overall, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo averaged over 60 for the series, and Denesh Ramdin's hundred lifted his figure to 38.40, but then the numbers slip away. Marlon Samuels was the major disappointment, averaging 19.50 while Kieran Powell, who had established himself in the opener's position, was 17.33.
"There are tough decisions to be made by the coach and the director of cricket, some careers are on the line, could be mine as well, you never know," Samy said while he sat alongside West Indies' coach, Ottis Gibson. "We cannot continue like this. In any organisation, you need to show graft and commitment. The coach keeps saying if we do the same thing, don't expect a different result.
"Watch us play when we play well and people say wow, things are moving forward, but it's two steps forward, then three or four backwards. Before we went to India, there were six consecutive Test wins. Then, on the tour of India, we got beaten miserably. We escaped in Dunedin by fighting hard with our backs against the wall. There's a lot of work to do, we just need to be more consistent."
West Indies' next Test series is against New Zealand in the Caribbean more than five months away and, given the regression in their form over the last couple of months on the road, the selectors could well decide a change is needed. Sammy has already been removed from the one-day captain's role, which now belongs to Dwayne Bravo, although he remains the captain of the Twenty20 side that will start as defending champions at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
"At the end of the day, the selectors recommend the captain. If I'm asked to do the job I'd still do it. They'll make the decision," Sammy said.
At tea on the third day at Seddon Park, there were no such remorseful feelings in the West Indies side. Although their lead was only 18, they knew one solid display, leaving a target over 200, would have given Sunil Narine the chance to be a match-winner.
"We came here to good batting conditions, that's not a 103-run pitch, but credit to McCullum and his boys, they had a plan for every batsman and the way their bowlers bowled out under pressure, we didn't have a response," Sammy said. "The batting unit needed partnerships, and we were unable to do that. I don't know what it is, in the end, it's up to us as batsmen to get the necessary runs, even if they're ugly."
At the moment, West Indies' batting is more often ugly for the wrong reasons.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo