THE late Charles M. Schulz, creator of the Peanuts cartoon strip, is a man who has taught the world a great deal. One of his strips, which I will never forget, had the beagle Snoopy running to the right. Then there was a strip of Snoopy running to the left. The sequence was repeated - right, and then again to the left. Finally, a bemused Charlie Brown, who has been watching all along, shakes his head and says: :"Indecision is an awful thing."
Tell that to Jimmy Adams. He may be a great diplomat, a very intelligent person and a gentleman to the core, but Adams gives out so many conflicting signals that if his team is losing badly, then he must definitely accept more than 50 percent of the blame.
No matter that the West Indies were down 2-0 in the Test series. Adelaide was a Test they had to win to stay in the series. And they got 391 in their first innings, something they would never have imagined coming into the match. Then we have Adams concentrating on saving runs, rather than getting people out. Bowlers were constantly given the wrong message: young Marlon Black did a bad job but he was not advised often enough to change his line and length. Nixon McLean bowled badly as well. The captain was content to let things drift along and accept a wicket if it fell. He did not seem to want to shape things at all.
After the West Indies lost, Adams spoke about the fact that the batsmen needed to make more runs in the second innings. Now if I were a selector, the first person I would ask to make some more runs is Adams himself. And secondly, the vice-captain Sherwin Campbell. These two are simply NOT accepting the responsibility, they want Lara to score, Walsh to take the wickets and they want to be part of a winning team.
If Campbell is in any way serious about his cricket, he should have a close look at footage of his leaden feet whenever he plays Glenn McGrath. A man who has played nearly 50 Tests should have developed some footwork by now. Else he should damn well learn it. Or get a job as a doorman where he has to stand in one position and not move a foot. But he knows that he will be picked for the next Test, he knows that he will be paid, so frankly he does not give a damn.
Daren Ganga is in the team only because he is an opener. Else he would be out. It is all very well to look organised, to have a good defence and to make runs in tour games. That is not why he has been brought along. He has to start delivering soon or else ask to be dropped. What has Adams been able to impart to this young chap? I doubt very much if the captain has the authority to speak to these youngsters when he himself has been batting like a chump. A first class chump.
Why do the West Indies batsmen play like this? Lara went but he had made his contribution. All it needed was 20s and 30s. And just a couple of them would have sufficed. There was no need to hurry either. It bespeaks a lack of professionalism. Ridley Jacobs, who is supposed to be in form, played atrociously. So did Wavell Hinds whose response to a full toss typified the West Indies indecision - he did not give it the full treatment, he did not keep it down. He played it somewhere in-between and paid the price.
Even after the West Indies had collapsed to 141 all out and set Australia a pathetic total to make for victory, they could have done better than what they did. What was the point of defending? They should have attacked. The probability of winning was slight, they had to attack to increase their chances. And they did an excellent job of getting four wickets for less than 50. Then they gave it away. There were times when there was just one slip. What was Adams trying to do - restrict Australia to less than 130 by the end of the fifth day? I am slowly beginning to doubt this man's intelligence.
One person who came out of this Test with an enhanced reputation (at least in my eyes) is Mervyn Dillon. He was the only player who did not bother about the second innings collapse. He played his normal game and made a worthwhile contribution of 19. He bowled very well, given his limitations and looked the part of an opening fast bowler for once.
I think Courtney Walsh must be disgusted with this team. At 38, it is too much for him to bowl more than six or seven overs in the Adelaide heat. He bowled 10 in a row. Then, rightly, he indicated that he needed a rest. The others have to do their part as well. Black bowled badly. So did McLean. But then they must have been acutely aware that their captain has openly shown that he no confidence in them.
Sometime back, there was talk that sponsors may start deserting the West Indies if they play as badly as they doing right now. I wish this really happens. Then there may be some serious thought given to improving the players' attitude. They are overfed, overpaid, and badly need a kick in the pants.