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England v West Indies: Why are West Indies so poor – and can problems be fixed?

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21 August 2017(Agencies)


West Indies were beaten by an innings and 209 runs by England at Edgbaston, losing a record 19 wickets in a day.

The entire team, in two attempts, batted for a total of six and a half hours. England opener Alastair Cook managed almost 10 on his own.

To the casual observer, it might have been a surprising margin of defeat.

But, in the words of Test Match Special commentator Fazeer Mohammed: “It was just another day. West Indies are being decimated in a Test in England, like they have been for the past 17 years.”

It is natural to compare the current side, who have not won a Test in England since 2000, with great West Indies teams of the past.

The 1980s side that terrified batsmen and bowlers alike was one of a kind. You cannot will a team to be better just because you remember their history fondly.

There are undoubtedly problems in West Indies cricket. But what are they? And how can they be fixed?

Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott described them as the worst Test team he has seen in half a century, while ex-England captain Michael Vaughan believes we may be watching “one of the saddest series for Test cricket”.

West Indies are World Twenty20 champions, but their recent Test record leaves plenty to be desired.

Their most recent series victory away from home, against a team other than Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, was in 1995.

At Edgbaston, they scored 305 runs in the match. Cook made 243 in England’s only innings.

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