London: Curtly Ambrose labelled the current West Indies side “embarrassing” and “pathetic” after their humiliating innings defeat by England in the first Test.
England went 1-0 up in the ongoing three-match series courtesy of a mammoth innings and 209-run win as the first day/night Test in Britain ended inside three days at Edgbaston on Saturday.
Amid a welter of depressing statistics for the West Indies, perhaps the worst was that they lost 19 wickets in under a day on Saturday after being made to follow-on.
“In the end it was totally embarrassing,” West Indies fast-bowling great Ambrose told Monday’s Daily Mail.
“I never saw any aggression from the West Indies players throughout the three days,” added Ambrose, who took 405 wickets at an outstanding low average of 20.99 in his 98-Test career.
“There was no belief that they could compete, let alone beat England. They seemed to be waiting for England to make mistakes and at this level that is not going to work.
“Trust me, it was painful to watch.”
West Indies have now won just three out of 87 away Tests in the past 20 years excluding matches against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Ambrose said he had tried to stop the slide as a member of the backroom staff but in the end felt it was a “waste of time”.
“I was with the team for two years as bowling coach and we tried to educate them about our heritage,” he recalled. “I talked about the pride and passion in representing the region and our people.
“I could talk to them all day but once they stepped over that rope they were on their own and if they were not prepared to listen, it was simply a waste of time. It does hurt.
“And it has reached a point where it is very embarrassing.”
Ambrose was now left hoping the West Indies could compete in the remaining two Tests of the England series at Headingley and Lord’s as “what we have seen so far has been pathetic”.
– ‘Tragedy’ –
Meanwhile England great Geoffrey Boycott said the West Indies were the worst Test side he’d seen during his five decades of involvement in cricket, labelling their plight a “tragedy” for the sport.
“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,” wrote Boycott in his Daily Telegraph column.
“They can’t bat and can’t bowl.”
The former England opener, whose career coincided with that of such West Indies stars as Garfield Sobers, Michael Holding and Vivian Richards, added: “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 and there is no gloating over them losing.
“It is just sad to see a once-proud cricket Test team lower than any I have ever seen before.”
The second Test starts on Friday.