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West Indies v England

‘Criticism of our players unfair’ – WICB chief Johnny Grave

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Johnny Grave, West Indies Cricket Board chief executive, has labelled former England captains Andrew Flintoff and Geoffrey Boycott’s criticism of the West Indies team as unfair.

Boycott had called the Jason Holder-led West Indies side as “very ordinary, average cricketers” and that “England should be far too good for the West Indies” before the three-match Test series.

“Nobody should take any pleasure from it but West Indies are a shadow of their past. So much so that even the locals don’t come out to watch and support their team in big numbers,” Boycott wrote in his column for The Telegraph.

England have, since then, been consigned to a 381-run defeat by the hosts in the first Test in Barbados and are 1-0 behind in the series.

“Criticism of our players and suggestions that they’re not world class is unfair,” Grave told BBC Sport.

“They are so dedicated. We’ve got 11 cricketers here and many more in the region who want to play Test cricket.

On the third day of this Test, when Jason Holder scored a double century from No.8 in the batting order, Flintoff had tweeted: “If Holder can score 200 @englandcricket can chase 600 plus.”

When queried if his comment was harsh on the West Indies captain, Flintoff responded by saying, “No, a number 8 scoring 200 should mean our top 6 can score lots and lots of runs!”

However, England were bowled out for 246 in the second innings after being bundled for 77 in the first. They were chasing a mammoth target of 628 after West Indies declared on 415-6, with Holder (202*) and Shane Dowrich (116*) ensuring the visitors were made to toil in the field on day three.

Only Rory Burns could pass fifty for England in the Test.

“I saw Andrew Flintoff say he can’t believe Jason Holder got a double hundred, yet I think Jason Holder is a fantastic cricketer and has been performing so fantastically over the last 18 months – a brilliant captain,” Grave said.

“I’d much rather people credit our team. I’d like to see English fans enjoying and celebrating 11 West Indians performing to such a high standard.”

The second Test starts on Thursday, January 31 in Antigua.

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