West Indies in England 2004 June 11, 2004

Haynes doubts West Indian readiness

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Haynes believes that the swinging ball could have an unhappy effect on the West Indians © Getty Images

Desmond Haynes, one half of one of the greatest opening combinations Test cricket has ever seen, has expressed concerns about the West Indian team's readiness for English conditions, and said that unfamiliarity with the moving ball could hamper the players.

The Barbados Daily Nation reported Haynes's doubts about the possibility of West Indian success in England - a far cry from the confidence his team exuded while touring in the past. "We are going to England in a couple of weeks' time and there is no preparation in place where the guys can go into an indoor facility somewhere in the Caribbean to start playing against the moving ball.

"I am not too sure of our preparation for that tour and that is why I have a little problem with how well we will do in England," he said. "Because we just came off two tracks that were very, very flat. There was no sideway movement, playing against Bangladesh. That preparation, to me, is not adequate at this level."

Haynes, who played 116 Tests, most of them in concert with his fellow Barbadian opening partner Gordon Greenidge, pointed out that few players had experienced English conditions, unlike in the past, when many West Indian team members (including Haynes himself, in a prolific career with Middlesex) were fixtures on the county circuit. Of the one-day squad picked for the tour, only four players - Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ridley Jacobs - have significant experience in England.

"It is harder on these players now than it was with us because there were about nine guys in the West Indies team that would have played in England or were playing in England for a county or something like that," said Haynes. "We were strong back in the 1980s because we had the opportunity to play county cricket."

His comments came after the West Indian team's dismal performances against South Africa, England and - to the mortification of many - even in the first Test against Bangladesh. The loss to a resurgent England earlier this year raises the possibility of a whitewash - and for a change, it's England that will go into a series against West Indies wielding the whip.