Watching West Indies go down without a fight on most occasions is certainly not a fun sight © AFP
Watching West Indies go down without a fight on most occasions is certainly not a fun sight © AFP

West Indies were outclassed by India in every department once again in the third Test at St Lucia. And they have themselves to blame for the 237-run bashing handed to them after another inconsistent performance. They did show signs of improvement, at times, but failed to convert them into victories, which is extremely worrisome. May 2015 was the last time West Indies won a Test, when they beat England by 5 wickets and 10 Tests later, they are still searching for their first win in the longest format. Their revival in the longer format, it seems therefore, has been further prolonged. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs West Indies, 3rd Test match

Current series

West Indies were shambolic in the first Test at Antigua and were thrashed by an innings and 92 runs. Even before the match began, a few surprise decisions were taken. The first one was to include Rajendra Chandrika in place of Shai Hope. Hope had struck an elegant century in the warm-up match against India, but somehow was not considered. His Test numbers are not particularly good (like Chandrika) but on current form, he certainly warranted a place in the side. Then the selectors decided to sack wicketkeeper-batsman and former skipper, Denesh Ramdin, for a young Shane Dowrich. Ramdin is no doubt a solid wicketkeeper, but his numbers with the bat were not very encouraging. Full cricket updates: India vs West Indies, 3rd Test, Day 5

Also, Jomel Warrican, the left-arm spinner had a good outing in the warm-up games. West Indies went in with Devendra Bishoo as their lone spinner, but they should have ideally had another spinner to support him, just like Ravichandran Ashwin had Amit Mishra in the first two matches.

West Indies suffered their biggest blow when premier fast bowler Jerome Taylor mysteriously decided to retire with just days to go for the series. Taylor, easily West Indies’ best fast bowler at that moment should have spearheaded this young attack, but the burden fell on Shannon Gabriel, who had played 17 Tests before the series started. Did Taylor retire because he was told he was not going to be picked for the series? It is not clear yet, but seems likely. IND vs WI 3rd Test, Day 5: Highlights

Despite an inspired show at Jamaica, West Indies have failed to learn from their mistakes – everyone is to be blamed. They play the same rash shots, fail to convert starts into big scores and more often than not go in with absolutely no game plan.  A team has to have multiple plans before walking on to the field. If Plan A does not work, you have to look at plan B and so on.

Young captain

Jason Holder in his short stint as captain has done very little – individually or as a leader – to prove that he belongs. He was handed the captaincy just before the ICC World Cup 2015, which started with a loss to minnows Ireland. They bounced back well to beat Pakistan and Zimbabwe, but that’s as good as it got for them. He was then handed the Test captaincy with his first series against Sri Lanka – the country where the current No. 1 side in the world, Australia are getting hammered left, right and centre. IND vs WI 3rd Test, Day 5: Video Highlights

That series was similar to what is happening to them right now. In the two-Test series, West Indies lost the first one by an innings (Just like they did in Antigua) and then showed a lot of fight in the second Test (Like Jamaica). They went on to lose a match that they should have won and it boiled down to their lack of application.

But things got bad to worse for the young skipper as West Indies were crushed by Australia in a three-Test series Down Under. There were some stand out individual performances in the series, but as a team, West Indies were nowhere close to beating the mighty Aussies.

West Indies Crciket Board (WICB)

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and their players share a tremulous relationship and this has been the cases for a long time now. We have often seen players speak up against the WICB and their functioning and as a result the WICB keeps such players out of the team. In the end, it is the team that suffers. Players like Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, who are considered T20 and limited-overs specialist do not get a place in Tests. It is mainly because the WICB pays their Test players peanuts. Instead, the players go around the world, sign lucrative contracts and play T20 cricket for different franchises around the world. READ: Match report: IND beat WI by 237 runs in 3rd Test; clinch series

ESPNCricinfo reports: “Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and Lendl Simmons earn anywhere between Aus $65,000 (US $47,300 approx) and $120,000 (US $87,300 approx) for six weeks’ work in the Big Bash League, the West Indies Test players are paid relatively meagre sums.”

That meager sum happens to be $5,000 per match. According to the same report on ESPNCricinfo: “The 12 WICB-contracted players are split into three categories earning between US $100,000 and $140,000. By contrast, the lowest ranked Australian contracted player, or the earner of an incremental contract like Peter Siddle or Usman Khawaja, will be the recipient of a deal worth Aus $250,000 (US $182,500 approx) in addition to their match payments.” READ: WI dismissed for their second lowest Test score vs IND

While playing for your nation is the highest priority for any cricketer, less income forces them to go elsewhere.

Future in Tests

The fact the players like Roston Chase, Alzarri Joseph and even Shane Dowrich have come up gives West Indies great hopes going ahead. West Indies seem to have a well-oiled domestic structure, which has churned out many young talents. The current team is a young side, an inexperienced one, which needs guidance. They have Phil Simmons as their coach, who would have surely shared his wisdom with the players. They have senior players like Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels and even vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite to guide them, when needed. Yes, it would take them years to build a side that can compete with the top sides, but even for that, they should be nurtured in the best possible manner.

They must not face a similar fate like Zimbabwe, who played their first Test series after a year. West Indies are getting opportunities to face some world class teams, both home and away. They must give it their all in those series and can hopefully become a force to reckon in coming years. But most importantly, they have to learn from their mistakes.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry.com. He is a sport enthusiast and a keen observer of cricket, the contests, and its personalities. When not tracking cricket, he follows the world’s soccer leagues and is somewhat partial towards Liverpool. His Twitter handle is @pramz)