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Lamentable

They have to acknowledge that their greatest era, founded on a depth of batting talent and a seemingly endless supply of genuinely fast bowlers, is finally over.

Wisden CricInfo staff
28-Jul-2005
Anyone who had any doubts about the problems facing West Indian cricket would have had it brought home to them that the position is extremely serious after watching the first day of the Trinidad Test.
The West Indies bowlers were simply lamentable. It wasn't that they weren't trying - their inadequacies were all the more painful because they were. At Georgetown they huffed and puffed with little direction or control, but got out of jail thanks to Vasbert Drakes's five-for in the first innings and Australia's relatively small target in the second.
But at Port of Spain they were exposed for the toothless, pop-gun attack that they are. Australia chose to bat first, happy to risk exposure to the early sideways movement which they expected from a green wicket to get the benefit of their spinners being able to exploit a crumbling pitch later in the match. For four overs West Indies bowled with acceptable control, and then it all went wrong.
Merv Dillon and Pedro Collins were the first to lose their way, and the others soon followed. Hardly an over didn't contain a ball which was either overpitched or painfully wide of the off stump. Often it was quicker to count the number of deliveries which were roughly in the right area than those sprayed here, there and everywhere.
One felt for Brian Lara. He kept his composure, but he would have been forgiven for wondering if the captaincy had been handed to him as a punishment rather than a reward. He was reduced to desperately plugging gaps resulting from his bowlers' profligacy, and long before lunch the slips had been despatched to all parts to stem the flow.
None of their fast bowlers are quick enough that their pace compensates for their waywardness, and the problem facing the selectors is that there is not much else to choose from. They can make changes, but it's largely a case of switching one mediocre seamer for another.
The West Indies batting line-up is strong - at it's best it can boast Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle among others. So where do they go with their bowling?
Firstly, they have to acknowledge that their greatest era, founded on a depth of batting talent and a seemingly endless supply of genuinely fast bowlers, is finally over. They just cannot produce the quality of fast bowlers anymore. In the past the Caribbean produced high-class spinners, and they can again, given the right pitch preparation and encouragement.
They could also do worse than look to other countries for guidance. Several - Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and, until recently, New Zealand - realised that they weren't going to be able to take on sides with pace, and so they developed bits-and-pieces seamers and spinners. The results were often far better than they dared to hope.
It might be worth West Indies considering it as an option. What they are doing at the moment just isn't working.