Chill factor has West Indies flummoxed

Beware unseasonal cold snaps if your ambition is to do well at one-day cricket in England. At least that seems to be the message from the West Indies manager, Ricky Skerritt, who blamed an unseasonably cold July for contributing to his team's wretched performances in the current one-day series against England and Zimbabwe, in which they have yet to record a victory.

Beware unseasonal cold snaps if your ambition is to do well at one-day cricket in England. At least that seems to be the message from the West Indies manager, Ricky Skerritt, who blamed an unseasonably cold July for contributing to his team's wretched performances in the current one-day series against England and Zimbabwe, in which they have yet to record a victory.

"We've allowed things to affect us, not least the weather," said Skerritt, at an altogether sunnier Trent Bridge yesterday. "We've had some guys, who have not experienced winter temperatures on a cricket field before and I think we over-reacted to that."

According to the Met Office, the first part of July did suffer from temperatures up to 7C below average, but they said such cold snaps are not that rare and occur about every 10 to 15 years.

Skerritt singled out the West Indies' match against Zimbabwe at Canterbury as a particular stinker, where players were so cold they had to send back to their hotel for thermal underwear and hand-warmers.

"We dropped nine catches that day, and fielded like a juvenile team," recalled Skerritt, whose own cricketing skills were once paraded for Oxford University during the early 1980s.

"The weather had something to do with that, but that's not an excuse. I know people were critical about fielders' hands being in pockets, but that was how cold it was."

Skerritt's sympathetic view was not shared by the captain, Jimmy Adams, who felt that cold weather was not an excuse professional cricketers could use to explain away poor fielding or bowling.

"If you are playing at the North Pole you still have to catch the ball," said Adams, a claim that could soon, in theory at least, be put to the test should Denmark, an associate member of the International Cricket Council, ever decide to play their matches in Greenland.

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