Cricket legend Sir Viv Richards believes England took West Indies too lightly, resulting in their shock hammering in the ongoing three-Test series.
Richards was on hand at the picturesque ground named in his honour to witness the 10-wicket victory on a sun-kissed third day last Saturday.
The victory came with an exclamation point as rookie opener John Campbell deposited a huge six over mid-wicket off seamer Jimmy Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker and a veteran of 147 matches.
“You have to look at it in the cold light of day, England have been outgunned,” said Richards, who applauded the victory from the President’s balcony.
“I don’t think they expected it. I don’t think they expected West Indies to be this competitive. They have played the better cricket and have been in great form, and it has really hurt England. The West Indies are bowling at a pace that, whoever you are in world cricket as a batter, you won’t like it. England haven’t coped at all with it.”
He continued: “I like what I’m seeing from my team. I’m seeing a new level of fitness among the bowlers especially, you just have to look at (Kemar) Roach and (Shannon) Gabriel and see the improvement. You can look into their eyes and you can see the fire and the belief. This team has given us great reason to cheer and be happy.”
The major difference in the series has been the Windies four-pronged pace attack led by the skilful Roach accompanied by express pace of Gabriel, with the pro-active captain Jason Holder and heroic Alzarri Joseph in tow.
While not a mirror images of the all-time greats of the 1980s and 1990s, the Windies attack has been exceptional and has taken all 40 England wickets on offer. The visitors have failed to reach 250 in any of their four innings, after folding for 77 and 246 in Barbados, and bundled out for 187 and 132 in Antigua.