Legends bemoan West Indies’ woes as ‘a cricketing tragedy’

first_imgThe gradual decline of West Indian cricket is hardly a new phenomenon but the latest capitulation of a once-dominant Test match power has brought genuine expressions of sadness throughout the sport.The defeat by an innings and 209 runs in the first day-night Test in England at Edgbaston at the weekend left both Caribbean legends and old international foes alike bemoaning what they saw as Windies cricket crashing to rock bottom.With a callow visiting team looking helpless in the absence of their best players and losing 19 wickets in one woeful day on Saturday, the overwhelming feeling was summed up by former England captain Michael Vaughan, who worries about yet more humiliation for the visitors.”I really fear that this series could be one of the saddest for Test cricket,” Vaughan told the BBC, before the second Test that starts in Leeds on Friday.According to another former captain Geoff Boycott in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, there could be no room for English gloating because the Windies surrender at Edgbaston had been so “painful to watch.””This West Indies lot are the worst Test match team I have seen in more than 50 years of watching, playing and commentating on cricket,” Boycott wrote.”They can’t bat and can’t bowl. I take no pleasure out of saying this as I played against some of the greaTest players the world has ever seen wearing the maroon cap of the West Indies.”It is a cricketing tragedy to see the West Indies like this… It is just sad to see a once-proud cricket Test team lower than any I have ever seen before.”advertisementThe sadness was felt much closer to home, too, with the great Antiguan fast bowler Curtly Ambrose telling the Daily Mail newspaper: “It does hurt. And it has reached a point where it is very embarrassing.”For now, I’m just hoping West Indies can compete at Headingley and Lord’s (in the third Test) because what we have seen so far has been pathetic.”INTERNAL PROBLEMSIt is now 17 years since a West Indies side won a Test in England and, as Vaughan suggested, “every time they have arrived here, they seem to have got worse.”The halcyon days of those thrilling 1980s and early 1990s teams, when Ambrose and his fellow pace demons inspired fear and batting blasters like Viv Richards looked so imperious on English tours, have never felt more like pre-history.The problems that have beset the sport in the Caribbean for so long were highlighted brutally in the Edgbaston debacle.The West Indies may be the Twenty20 world champions but the mainstays of that triumph – like Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy – now play lucrative T20 tournaments around the world rather than representing the West Indies after constant pay disputes with Cricket West Indies.The world T20 win and the under-19 team’s world championship victory last year tell of talent and potential that can still be harnessed in the Caribbean game.Yet at Test level, the internal conflicts have led to serial under-performing with the Windies having not won a Test series away from home, other than against the ‘minnows’ Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, for 22 years.Without senior players to guide them, it was the way the young team folded so meekly at Edgbaston that upset Ambrose.”I talked with Sir Viv Richards and Sir Andy Roberts at length before and during the Test about how we used to dominate world cricket, about our pride and passion. That’s what’s lacking,” wrote Ambrose.”What concerns me is that I do not think these players know what West Indies cricket means to West Indians and followers of the global game. People feel sad for us and that’s just not right.Ambrose was desperate to see an improvement at Headingley. “Come back with aggression, confidence and commitment,” he commanded the class of 2017. “Our history and the pride we once had in our cricket demands it.”last_img read more

Lewis Hamilton wins Russian Grand Prix to stretch championship lead

first_imgReigning world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi on Sunday to extend his lead at the top to 50 points.Valtteri Bottas, who started from pole, moved aside to let his Mercedes teammate Hamilton win the race and get a substantial advantage over title rival Sebastian Vettel with five races remaining in the season.The victory was a landmark 70th for the Briton, who is well on his way to a fifth title and is now 21 wins behind the all-time record of 91 held by seven-time champion Michael Schumacher.Vettel finished third for Ferrari with Bottas, who was told to let Hamilton through after 25 of the 53 laps, securing the Mercedes one-two.YES!!! What a result!!! 1-2 at the @SochiAutodrom! @LewisHamilton wins the #RussianGP, @ValtteriBottas finishes P2!Amazing job by our guys! #F1 pic.twitter.com/51pBpH0lO6Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) September 30, 2018In a race with little other drama, Max Verstappen celebrated his 21st birthday in style by steering his Red Bull from the back to the front, dropping back to fifth after finally pitting with 10 laps to go.Mercedes remain unbeaten in Russia, Sunday being their fifth win in Sochi since the Olympic Park circuit first appeared on the calendar in 2014. Hamilton has now won eight races this season.Valtteri: A difficult day. A good result for us a team with maximum points. But personally a difficult race. We always go through all the scenarios and all the facts. Ultimately, Lewis is fighting for the Championship and the team for the Constructors.” #RussianGP pic.twitter.com/1FXjQoEeLYadvertisementMercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) September 30, 2018The Briton, who pulled off an impressive overtake on Vettel for fourth after he dropped behind the German at the pitstops, stayed in the car for some time after he parked up at the finish.He then went over to thank Bottas and commiserate. At the podium ceremonies, with Russian president Vladimir Putin doing the honours, Hamilton manoeuvred the Finn onto the top step alongside him.”It’s actually quite a difficult day,” explained the Briton. “He was a real gentleman to let me by. Usually I’d be elated but I can understand how difficult it was for Valtteri.”Lewis: Valtteri did a fantastic job all weekend and was a real gentleman to let me by. Obviously, he’s now not fighting for the Championship. Usually we’d be elated but I can understand how difficult it was for Valtteri. He did a fantastic job and deserved to win.” #RussianGP pic.twitter.com/idABHTpsmjMercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) September 30, 2018The Finn, without a win this season, had asked the team over the radio, more in hope than expectation, in the closing laps whether the order might change back.”Is this how we are going to finish the race?” he asked, before the answer came back in the affirmative.”Valtteri this is Toto. Difficult day for you and a difficult day for us,” said team boss Toto Wolff, whose finger had been captured by the world television feed hovering over the ‘tactics’ button before the order was given.”Let’s discuss it afterwards when we come together and we’ll explain things.”Toto: “We are all racers at heart and what we want to see is out and out racing and may the quickest man win. But then we are a bunch of rational guys – we discuss things in the morning and then everything is different in the race.” #RussianGP pic.twitter.com/VFvk7YNx5bMercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) September 30, 2018(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more