There was evidence during their tour of Australia that the powers of Clive Lloyd's West Indian side had begun to decline. Although they won the triangular Benson and Hedges limited-overs competition with something to spare, they were less convincing in the series of three Test matches against Australia, which they drew one-all.
The success of Lloyd's side over the last few years has centred round their great fast bowling strength. They have continually been able to field sides containing four fast bowlers, Roberts, Holding, Croft and Garner, with Marshall and sometimes Clarke in reserve. Yet in Australia, on several occasions, they were no longer so effective, failing to finish off an innings when the first three or four wickets had fallen cheaply.
Advancing years may be one of the reasons for this. Another, almost certainly, is that the side has been spoiled by its own remarkable success. In Australia the players no longer had, perhaps, the same biting urge to succeed. There was evidence of this in the batting as well as the bowling. Richards, for such an exceptional player, did not have an outstanding tour. Often he would come in and start trying to hit the ball to all parts of the ground without bothering to play himself in. Greenidge, handicapped for much of the time by a knee injury, was another who did not go on to make big scores, and Haynes was a disappointment.
In the end, the batting was saved by Lloyd himself, who played with cool authority and was always a wonderful example to his side on the field of play, and Gomes, who, assured at last of a regular Test place, thrived on the confidence that this gave him, scoring centuries in the second and third Tests.
The other batting success was the newcomer from Jamaica and reserve wicket-keeper, Jeff Dujon. In six innings in the Test series the lowest score he was out for was 41, although the fact that he reached the forties four times and fifty once indicated that he still has to learn about the need to concentrate. Nevertheless he scored his runs in the most impressive way. Perhaps his best innings came in a one-day international against Australia on a nasty pitch in Melbourne. Even Richards was defeated by it, but Dujon played as if he was batting in the Jamaican nets, taking West Indies to victory in a match they might well have lost.
Roberts went to Australia mainly to play in the limited-overs matches. However, injuries forced him to play in the first Test, and when he did not play in the second it was noticeable how much he was missed. Holding bowled magnificently throughout and took five or more wickets in an innings four times in six innings. West Indies' failure to bowl a side out when they had begun the job well may have been more than anything the result of Croft and Garner not being quite the bowlers they were, Croft's decline being due partly to injury.
With a well-established Test side, the reserves had little chance of much worthwhile cricket. Bacchus batted well at the end of the tour, revealing himself to be a handsome stroke-maker, but he hardly looked the part when called upon to open in place of the injured Greenidge. Logie's wonderful fielding made him an almost permanent twelfth man, but Joseph, the wrist-spinner from Trinidad, made few appearances. It was a happy tour, well managed by Stephen Camacho, from Guyana, who formed an excellent partnership with Lloyd.
Test matches - Played 3: Won 1, Lost 1, Drawn 1.
First-class matches - Played 7: Won 4, Lost 1, Drawn 2.
Wins - Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland.
Loss - Australia.
Draws - Tasmania, Australia.
Non first-class matches - Played 17: Won 12, Lost 4, Drawn 1. Wins - Australia (6), Pakistan (4), New South Wales Country XI, Queensland Country XI. Losses - Australia (3), Pakistan. Draw - Victorian Country XI.
Match reports for
Queensland v West Indians at Brisbane, Dec 11-14, 1981