The West Indies returned home yesterday from another catastrophic overseas tour singing the usual upbeat tune.

There is still hope . . . . Give it a couple of years' time and we'll turn it around, said captain Carl Hooper.

There was an echo from coach Roger Harper.

I can see the improvements. It is slow in coming, but it's coming.

Their comments came in the aftermath of yet another overseas debacle in which the Caribbean side lost both Tests against Pakistan and managed to save some face with a consolation victory in the last of the three One-Day Internationals in Sharjah.

Their recent overseas record now reads an abysmal 24 defeats in 27 Tests.

If you are losing, people are going to think you are not making any headway whatsoever, Hooper said.

Since I have taken over the job, I've seen improvements, maybe not as fast as I'd like to see, but I've certainly seen improvements.

The West Indies captain, however, admits that it is not going to be easy to convince fans.

The average cricket follower will probably disagree with me because he basically will see winning and losing, simple, straightforward.

Being among the guys, I've seen a change in attitude. I've seen guys a bit more determined. I've seen a lot of preparation mental and physical.

Harper was probably spot-on in assessing why the West Indies were inconsistent in batting, ordinary in bowling and woeful in the field.

It's one thing doing it in the classroom and another thing going into the job situation and executing, the West Indies coach said.

That's why we are having problems.

Harper is not one who is usually at a loss for words. But he stuttered a bit when asked if the persistent disappointing results had ever frustrated him to the extent that he might consider packing it in.


It is frustrating, yes, but at the same time . . . you know . . . you know, you don't just turn . . . you just don't turn things around instantaneously like that.

It takes time. It is a process that has to be undergone. It is comment we have been hearing for a few years.

We've been going through this process from since 1993/94, Hooper added.

We haven't really got the facilities or the money to set up the infrastructure to start rectifying some of the problems that we have.

If we had come back winning 2-0, people would say that we had swung the corner, but to get back to where we want to be, you've got to play consistently good cricket for years. It's not going to be one good year or two good years.

Harper also admitted the quality of the players wasn't as high as when West Indies were ruling the world stage in the 1980s.

And he believed the lack of experience was a problem in spite of the fact that a number of the players had been in the international game for a few years.

We have young players and they are in the process of learning, he said.

Unfortunately, for a lot of them, they are learning at this level, but it's taking a lot longer than we would like.