Cricket Betting: Conditions to favour England
If England do give the West Indies a pasting it's unlikely that it will be because the tourists didn't "fancy it" or "want it enough."
Frank Gregan believes Darren Sammy and the West Indies are bound to struggle when English conditions weigh heavily in the home side's favour once the Test series starts.
Two of the greatest ever sporting clichés are "they don't fancy it" and "we wanted it more."
In most cases it's absolute drivel because if you are a professional sportsman and your livelihood depends upon your level of performance, you fancy it and you want it every bit as much as your opponent.
That's certainly the case at international level, well in the majority of sports, cricket could possibly be the exception. Graeme Swann caused a bit of a stir last year when he said he thought that one-day cricket should be scrapped and he has also stated publicly that he sometimes struggles to get "up" for games.
That may sound like heresy to those of us who love the game but haven't been blessed with enough talent to play minor counties let alone gain international recognition. Perversely, the world's best cricketers spends so much time on international duty that the honour and sense of awe has to get diluted.
One of the classic examples in recent times of a team not fancying it was the West Indies side that toured England in May 2007. Chris Gayle's men stood stooped with hands in pockets in the field trying to keep themselves warm and fend off a bitter English springtime that was more akin to the Arctic than Antigua. They looked like the academic kids at school that would rather be anywhere than on the sports-field desperately waiting for teacher to blow his whistle so they could get back into the warm.
Darren Sammy and his men are touring England at the same time this year and it looks as if the conditions are set to massively favour England. The tourists get started with a three day game against Sussex on Sunday and they'll not like the look of the weather forecast with temperatures expected to reach a high of only 12 degrees and heavy rain likely. With just one other warm-up game against the Lions scheduled the tourists could well be undercooked when the Test series gets under way.
The WICB are trying to fight fire with fire by selecting a squad which will rely heavily on a pace attack which is usually the key to success on early season English wickets. The only spinner in the squad is Shane Shillingford who performed admirably in the final two Tests against the Australians.
Sammy's men are not exactly full of confidence, results have been poor for a while, in their last two Test series against Australia and India they didn't win a match, losing four and drawing two.
They do boast one genuine class player in Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who has just regained his place at the top of the ICC Test batsman rankings but it's difficult to see them winning any of the three Test matches that are scheduled to take place between May 17 and June 11.
England at home these days are a match for anyone. That hasn't always been the case and proof that it's not desire that wins games but talent is in the record books. Back in the day, the seventies and the eighties when the Windies ruled the world, the men from the Caribbean played 23 Test matches in England and lost only once, a remarkable achievement.
The difference now is that the West Indies seem to be perpetually in transition. England are a very short 1.28 to win the series but better value can be gained by backing Andrew Strauss and his men to dish out a 3-0 whitewash which has been matched at a tempting 3.25.
If England do give the West Indies a pasting it's unlikely that it will be because the tourists didn't "fancy it" or "want it enough." It will be because their current side are not talented enough to win a game played in English conditions.