This tour has smacked of a Shakespearean farce from the start. Thanks to a combination of the sheer ineptitude of the WICB and greed on behalf of a number of players prioritising the IPL, the 15 man Test squad was already short of the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan (left to languish in County Cricket with Leicestershire) and spin sensation Sunil Narine, who the board inexplicably forgot to give a contract to.
Then the squad that was picked couldn't even arrive together. Marlon Samuels seemed to have trouble in locating an airport in India, whilst Narsingh Deonarine and Assad Fudadin - who was probably as surprised as we were at his call-up - were delayed by visa problems. Why, they sought help from Yorkshire in how to negotiate UK Customs, we'll never know.
The first game with Sussex was washed out with only 34 overs bowled meaning that the game in progress with the Lions is their only preparation before the 1st Test starts at Lord's next Thursday. That's the same amount of game-time in English conditions as Kevin Pietersen, whose body may be in England but whose heart would appear to still be in India.
For all the talk of a revival under Otis Gibson and Darren Sammy, West Indies have only won two of their last 30 Tests - and one of those was against Bangladesh. Their recent record in England is poor, with the last win coming at Edgbaston in 2000, after which Nasser Hussain's England bounced back to win the series 3-1. Since then they have lost 12 out of 14 Tests in England, and those defeats were achieved with markedly better sides than the one that will take the field at Lord's next Thursday.
Whilst the bowling attack is reasonable enough, the batting is entirely dependent on Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo. Chanderpaul fought a lone role in the recent series with Australia, and has a good record against England, but surely he needs to take on more responsibility and bat higher up the order? Otherwise, he can expect to come to the wicket on a regular basis at not much for three.
As we said at the start of this piece, this tour has the look of a farce about it and if the weather holds out, one can only see a resounding 3-0 win for England. For someone that watched in awe the fearsome West Indies sides of 1984 and 1988, that is more than farcical; it is tragic. Shakespeare wrote a few of those as well.
They also played cricket - an XI of illustriously named Cricketers (featuring William Shakspeare)
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