West Indies captain Jason Holder challenged his side to “look themselves in the mirror” after they suffered an innings and 209-run thrashing by England in the first Test at Edgbaston.
The inaugural day/night Test in Britain was all over on Saturday’s third day.
“It’s been a tough few days – we were disappointing in this Test match. We lacked consistency when we bowled and we didn’t put up any runs,” Holder told reporters.
“We got beaten in three days and just weren’t up to scratch.”
Few had given the West Indies much chance ahead of the three-match series but even their sternest critics might have paused before suggesting they would lose 19 wickets in a day.
Yet that is exactly what happened on Saturday, with the West Indies, who started the day at 44 for one, were shot out for 168 and 137 after being made to follow on.
“We have to regroup — it’s only one Test, and we can’t drop our heads down,” said Holder.
“The series is not lost… I have to believe, (because) every team is beatable.
“(But) each player has to look themselves in the mirror and see where they can improve.”
The West Indies’ bowling was as poor as their batting, with England piling up 514 for eight declared as captain Joe Root, with 136, and his predecessor Alastair Cook (243) plundered runs against a hapless attack.
Only Jermaine Blackwood, who made a defiant first-innings 79 not out and persevering paceman Kemar Roach, who bowled better than figures of two for 86 in 28 overs suggested, could take much from a match that left the men from the Caribbean still without a Test win in England since 2000.
Now the West Indies only have a short turnaround before the second of a three-match series gets under way at Headingley — Root’s Yorkshire home ground — on Friday.
West Indies’ problems in Test cricket away from home are nothing new.
Since 1997, excluding matches against the often struggling Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, they have won just three out of 87 Tests beyond the Caribbean, losing 67 and drawing 17.
– ‘Awful lot to do’ –
It is a sad statistic for a side that were Test cricket’s dominant force during the 1970s and 1980s.
The current squad arrived in England without the experienced Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo and Darren Sammy — the legacy of both a bitter dispute with West Indies cricket chiefs and the competing attractions of the lucrative Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 tournament that is taking place at the same time as this Test series.
West Indies are the reigning World Twenty20 champions and there are fears that Test cricket may never regain the pride of place it once enjoyed in the region.
Johnny Grave, the English chief executive of what is now Cricket West Indies, accepted an “awful” amount of work was required to restore the team’s Test fortunes.
“I think we are certainly best at the Twenty20 format,” Grave told Sky Sports during Saturday’s tea interval.
“Our system of producing cricketers allows us to compete at that level rather than the longer formats of the game, where the inadequacies of our system is really highlighted,” added Grave, who made his name in cricket administration with London-based county Surrey and England’s Professional Cricketers Association.
“Jimmy Adams (a former West Indies captain), our new director of cricket and I have got an awful lot to do to put in place a really professional system underneath the men’s international side to produce better cricketers.”