Former West Indies wicket-keeper David Williams and president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board Azim Bassarath both praised the West Indies victory against England in the second Test, yesterday. The pair also said that the criticism handed to the regional team after the first Test was overboard and premature.
West Indies levelled the three-match series 1-1 with a five-wicket victory at Leeds. Starting the day on five without loss in chase of a challenging 322 for victory, West Indies got to the target with a few overs to spare. It was a remarkable turn around by West Indies after losing the first day/night Test by an innings and 209 runs in three days.
Numerous former Test cricketers had some strong words after the West Indies lost the first Test match. Former West Indies fast bowler Sir Curtly Ambrose described the first Test defeat as pathetic and embarrassing, while former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott says it was the worst Test team he has seen in over 50 years. Former England cricketer Michael Vaughn, also said on twitter that the International Cricket Council should consider having a two-tier system in Test cricket after West Indies lost the first Test.
Williams believes some of the criticism of West Indies was a bit premature, considering it was the first match in the series. "(The criticism) was a bit hard, because it was the first game and those fellas are now finding their straps. It proves that if you stick to your plan and you keep working hard, you could get good results and I am so happy that did happen," Williams said.
Williams said West Indies deserves credit as England did not show respect to the regional team by declaring in their second innings. "I thought it was a tremendous victory, a great victory. For England to declare and lose like that I don't think they gave the team any respect at all. It was kind of a disrespect. I am glad that it back fired on them and it shows you don't take cricket for granted. It was a tough task, but the guys really dug deep and it was a tremendous victory. Kudos to the coach and all the guys that worked hard and I am so happy for them."
Bassarath said he understands why people condemned the West Indies because it was a poor performance in the first Test. However, he believes the lashing West Indies received was overdone.
"I am not sure if (the criticism) was harsh, because the performance was poor (in the first Test) when you look at it. Some of the people went over board with the criticism that was said against the team. The people in the game would know how hard these young (West Indies) cricketers work towards their game and it was not surprising to me that we played so well in this second Test match."
Bassarath said West Indies bouncing back after the first day/night Test match shows the team's mental strength in tough English conditions.
"It shows the character of the team. I think under these conditions even the great West Indies team in the past would have been under pressure the way the ball was swinging. Being a day/night game the ball would have been swinging more and hence the reason why they lost 19 wickets in a day in the first Test. It is no excuse for a Test team to lose 19 wickets in a day, but the fact is that traditionally West Indian batsmen have had the problem of manoeuvring the swinging ball."