As if West Indies hadn’t been derided enough following the shambolic three-day innings defeat by England at Edgbaston, Stuart Law, their coach, has invited more ridicule onto his beleaguered players by claiming the result was down to the Birmingham weather.
In what must rank as one of the worst cop-outs a sporting team can muster, Law cited the cold conditions experienced during the inaugural day-night Test in this country as a significant factor in his team’s pitiful performance.
The Australian, speaking ahead of the second Test at Headingley starting on Friday, said: “Forty degrees in Barbados to 13 degrees in Birmingham, I would be walking around freezing my nuts off as well with my hands in my pockets. The poor kids are freezing.
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“Fielding at night time in England is not pleasurable and when it is overcast with mizzly rain it is even worse, so yes once again people say it is an excuse but it is a fact. It was freezing cold for us who are not Englishman.
“People were sat in the crowd with tank tops on and we were looking for more jumpers to put on over the three we already had on.”
Law’s logic is ultimately flawed given his team spent just one night-time session in the field – and that on the first day. It also doesn’t excuse the horrendous batting that saw West Indies lose 19 wickets on the third day to slump to a landslide defeat by an innings and 209 runs.
It was a performance that left a host of former West Indies greats seething, with the strongest criticism coming from Curtley Ambrose, the team’s bowling coach up until last year.
Ambrose branded the Edgbaston display “embarrassing” and “painful to watch”, adding: “It does hurt. There was no belief that they could compete, let alone beat England.”
West Indies captain Jason Holder leaves the field after being dismissed by Stuart Broad (Getty)
However, Law, who took over as West Indies coach in February, has criticised Ambrose for going public, saying: “Curtly not long ago was the [bowling] coach of this team so it is disappointing that criticism comes. We have to understand why it is there.
“It would have been nice if he had come into the dressing room to talk to the guys and express his displeasure to us. That would have been awesome but that didn’t happen. What can we do? We have to get our noses down, our backsides up and play better.”
Yet Law appeared to offer more excuses when saying the fact Jason Holder, his captain, lost the toss at Edgbaston was another reason why West Indies performed so badly.
“Look at the time we batted and conditions we faced” he said. “It’s not an excuse. It is a fact.
“In day-night Test matches if you win the toss, bat first and put a score on board you are in the driver’s seat because the team batting second has to bat after lunch and in the twilight.
Curtley Ambrose branded the Edgbaston display “embarrassing” and “painful to watch” (Getty)
“We did not play well. We have been very honest with our assessment. A lot of guys have been asked to look at themselves in the mirror by the captain. We have been very open and forthcoming with thoughts on how they can get better and we are trying our very best to get it right in a short space of time.
“We have spoken about everything we possibly can. Once the players take the field we can’t do it for them.”
Law is still confident his team can bounce back at Headingley, a ground where balmy weather is hardly guaranteed.
Citing the 2-1 series defeat against Pakistan earlier this year, Law said: “We sat down and we talked about our Test series against Pakistan. We got beaten in two-and-a-half days in Jamaica and came back and won the second Test.
England consigned the West Indies to a landslide defeat by an innings and 209 runs (Getty)
“We played the same team, they played the same team and our boys stood up. Now we have had a look and seen what England are trying to do to us we will have better knowledge going into it. We know what is coming, it is a matter of us finding a way to cope with it.”
Jonny Bairstow, returning to his home ground in Leeds, is certainly not expecting England to roll over the tourists in this second Test.
The wicket-keeper batsman insisted: “I don’t think we can judge them on just on one performance. That was very much an experimental game, as well, with the pink ball under lights at Edgbaston, the first one in England.
“In some ways that can be taken out of context as well. We’re coming here back with the red ball at Headingley to a Test match that is back to the original rules and original conditions. It’s going to be an interesting five days.
“Leading in now, it’s a case of backing that first game up because we know that we’ve not necessarily been as good at that as we should be.”