Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Reluctant Tourists Could End Up Spoiling Our Summer

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Reluctant Tourists Could End Up Spoiling Our Summer

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Agnew BBC Cricket Correspondent

ISUSPECT I am not the only one heading north for the Second Test somewhat lacking my usual enthusiasm. It is not merely that the forecast is for a biting east wind and that we can be sure of only a small crowd, but particularly that the standard of the cricket on offer will almost certainly be well below par again.

I thought the West Indies were truly dreadful at Lord's. Yes, it was chilly and not what they are used to, but then England are expected to play in unfamiliar, broiling heat when they go on tour. It was the attitude that really disappointed me, though, and it is about time their captain, Chris Gayle, set a better example.

He stood motionless at slip with his hands buried almost up to the elbows in his trouser pockets. Every bit of him was saying: "I don't want to be here" -- and his team played like it.

Discipline has been a problem in the West Indian dressing room for years and the sight of Sulieman Benn appearing late and barely dressed at the crease said it all.

Minutes earlier, I had seen Benn wandering around the Nursery End of Lord's, whistling to a song on his iPod! He looked like a man playing village cricket. But this was West Indies' No , whose shambolic entrance as Graham Onions took three quick wickets created a disturbing image of life in the visitors' dressing room. Hardly surprising he survived only two balls.

Unfortunately, a number of the West Indians actually do not want to be here -- especially Gayle. He gives the impression that he would far rather be earning loads of cash in the IPL and was even granted dispensation to arrive late for the Lord's Test to allow him to notch up another appearance fee.

I do have some sympathy in that the West Indies were not due to be touring now, and are doing so only because England refused to entertain Zimbabwe while Sri Lanka's cricketers mutinied because they would have missed out on the IPL.

But it does illustrate the current battle between country and IPL, and the mindset of cricketers, such as Gayle, who are missing out on big money. What they must learn to appreciate is that international cricket is their shop window and without it, they will not attract their eye-watering fees. …

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