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Windies: back to square one

Any gains the West Indies may have made after their initial bad run in Australia have been squandered away. Three successive losses to Pakistan have ensured that a team which was cock-a-hoop is now on its knees and seriously questioning its ability to function in a crisis.

There is no detracting from the Pakistan performance but one may well ask why Walsh and Lara were rested for the team's last league match in the triangular one-day series. Beating Pakistan thrice was all well and good but the team should have been hungry for another win. That is what it takes to keep a team going. The rhythm which had been built up since December 8 was lost that very day. The rot set in right there. And it may well cost the West Indies dearly in the two remaining Tests.

Walsh had it right when he questioned why a team which was playing eight batsmen could not get a total of 166. That it was not impossible was shown by Ambrose who stuck it out, even though he needed a runner, and got an unbeaten 31. He was hungry for a win and tried his best even though he needed a runner. The rest of the vaunted batting line-up looked like a pond in springtime -- plenty of ducks.

Losing the first final was not the calamity of calamities because the West Indies have come back in the past after just such a loss, come back with a vengeance to take the trophy. This time they just could not even stay the distance. Collapsing seems to have become a way of life with them. Only Roland Holder stayed awhile but he has had such little match practice one cannot blame him for not being there longer.

Akram would have a great many reasons to celebrate but Taylor will be having one for the road as well. The Pakistan skipper has done him a great favour by taking the Windies to the cleaners in this manner; Taylor, who hasn't been having too good a time himself recently, will certainly find it easier to deal with the West Indies now that a great deal of the wind has been taken out their sails.

If there is a plus point in this whole miserable episode it is that it gives the team an extra couple of days rest before the vital Adelaide Test. There has been much talk from this team but now only deeds will suffice to convince anybody that they have what it takes to come back from what is literally the dead.