Going Nowhere

Well, I've seen better Test series, but the one which ended in Durham yesterday did serve a few useful purposes. It confirmed that Shivnarine Chanderpaul is an extraordinary batsman. Maybe not genuinely great, but certainly genuinely extraordinary.

Has there ever been another Test series in which one batsman has been so far ahead of all his peers? I don't know, but I doubt it.

Lara usually had Chanderpaul himself, and Sarwan. After Lord's Chanderpaul had nobody, although Bravo, as always, did his best and Gayle and Morton briefly succeeded in spite of themselves. The rest were nowhere.

The series also showed that there surely can't be any further for the West Indies to fall. Their batting lacks technique, their bowling lacks fitness, finesse, pace and variety, their fielding is an abject shambles. Many of their players - with Gayle the worst offender - look as though they just don't care. This really shows in the field, and, until more of their players can acquire the determination, desire and strength of character of Chanderpaul and Bravo (or even Edwards or Sammy), they're going nowhere.

During the Old Trafford Test it was surprising and concerning to hear Tony Cozier say for the first time that he wondered whether the West Indies would benefit from a sabbatical from Test cricket in which they played other countries' 'A' teams in order to give themselves a chance to regroup, perhaps win some games and restore their lost confidence.

Has it really come to this?

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