England will be dejected after a five-wicket loss against West Indies © Getty Images
England will be dejected after a five-wicket loss against West Indies © Getty Images

England suffered a defeat at the hands of a lowly West Indies in the third and final Test at Barbados to return home without a trophy they had presumed was theirs. With New Zealand and Australia set to tour, Alastair Cook and his men have some really tough questions to answer, explains Devarchit Varma.

The West Indies were labelled ‘mediocre’ by the chief of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) before the three-Test series began, but by the end of it, the hosts emerged much stronger than what they were heading into it, putting up a spirited performance in the first and the third Tests to level with England. Certainly, the West Indies were far from the term they were described as, and England; on the other hand, riding high on their presumption of walking over the ‘mediocre’ West Indies, now return home with a bagful of problems. West Indies vs England, 3rd Test at Barbados highlights

The upcoming season, which begins unusually early for England is the toughest for them in the last four-five years, as not often teams of high qualities such as New Zealand and Australia visit their shores back-to-back. England, who have revelled much on the misery of Asian teams such as India and Sri Lanka will have to play out of their skin to emerge unscathed. WI win 3rd Test against ENG at Barbados by 5 wickets; series drawn 1-1

There is far too much damage on cards for England than mere defeats in the upcoming series, as they have the tendency of collapsing to new lows alongside series defeats, which then resultantly consume years to overcome. The scars of the Ashes 2013-14 still linger in the back of the minds of every England cricketer and their fans, and the possibility of generating some momentum before the home series has ended with the loss in the third Test. Phill Simmons thrilled by West Indies’ display of character against England in 3rd Test

England would have hoped to generate momentum with a series win in the Caribbean, but the West Indies not only dashed those but also exposed England’s frailties. The opening slot has turned into a perennial problem, and despite excellent performances from Gary Ballance and Joe Root, England batting order is nowhere close to what they desire. Geoffrey Boycott feels Jonathan Trott lacks technique of Test opener

Alastair Cook has finally ended the drought that threatened to end his career, but the test is far from over. The bowling attacks of both New Zealand and Australia are far too equipped and threatening to stop even the ones in form, and Cook will have to lead by example in order to inspire the middle-order, which has not been fully convincing. Apart from Ballance and Root, there have hardly been noticeable performances and this trend cannot continue for England. Graeme Swann believes giving Joe Root Test captaincy now would be a disaster

The workhorse that the 32-year-old James Anderson has been reduced to is another worrying factor. The English pace attack is not the same compared to the ones in 2010 and 2011, and Anderson has bore the brunt of the failure and incapabilities of those around him. Stuart Broad and Chris Jordan are lethal enough, but as a pack England’s bowling attack is nowhere close to that of New Zealand and Australia’s.

In the Caribbean, Anderson was England’s best bet with the ball and it was only because of his brilliance England were able to snatch a win in the second Test. Anderson on the final day turned into a monster, ripping apart the West Indies’ middle-order, being involved in all six dismissals in the first session on the final day at Grenada. Apart from Anderson, can anyone think of any other bowler in the present England set-up who can swing the match in his team’s favour? Joe Root ‘ideal’ to captain England, believes Martyn Moxon

The misery that Jonathan Trott has gone through in the past couple of weeks is scary, as the right-handed batsman, the ideal No. 3, was sent to open and the problems began. West Indies exploited his failures against the short ball, and the three ducks in six innings have not only increased doubts over Trott, but have also flared up England’s failure to get a stable opening partner for Cook.

Apart from the century in the first innings of the opening Test, Ian Bell could not score more than 11 in any of the other innings. Bell occupies the coveted No. 4 spot and the inconsistency in the recently-concluded series will certainly increase England’s woes. Denesh Ramdin should lead West Indies more aggressively: Viv Richards

England would have landed in the Caribbean with the hopes of leaving on a happy and confident note, but by the look of things, they leave with a bagful of worries. Their frail batsmen and inconsistent bowling has exposed England’s shortcomings, and the masterminds in Darren Lehmann and Mike Hesson would surely have taken down their notes.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)