Less than 12 months after their disastrous tour of South Africa, West Indies' away form showed no signs of improving. Beaten by New Zealand in a Test match for the first time since 1986-87, they went on to suffer only their second series defeat at their hands. Brian Lara's side were then whitewashed 5-0 in the one-day series by a country that had won just four of their previous 25 limited-overs meetings. Lara admitted afterwards: "Everyone is hurt, but there is no one to blame but us. It's a greater hurt than in South Africa because it's a year later and you expect it to make a difference."
A complete management clearout followed the tour, with Lara resigning from the captaincy, Clive Lloyd stepping down as manager and Sir Viv Richards, who was appointed as coach in a caretaker capacity after Malcolm Marshall had fallen ill, being overlooked when the position was advertised on the party's return home. Even Dennis Waight, West Indies' Australian-born physiotherapist, left his job after more than 20 years. Lloyd declared that his frustration in being unable to take part in selection had been a major factor in his decision to resign. "I dislike my contract and my fulfilment of it," he said, having been in the post three years. "These are traumatic times for West Indies cricket. There are a lot of things wrong at the moment."
Personal problems, coupled with a disillusionment with the game, caused Lara not only to give up the leadership of the side but also to take a four-month sabbatical from all cricket. Mentally stale, he made himself unavailable for both home series, against Zimbabwe and Pakistan, that followed the tour. In New Zealand, he appeared weighed down by responsibilities and, while he was not exactly out of form, two fatally irresponsible strokes in the First Test played a large part in what was a catastrophic defeat. Another, West Indies' tenth in succession on foreign soil, followed in the Second Test at the Basin Reserve.
Adrian Griffith had an excellent Test series, his four innings spanning a combined total of more than 18 hours, but the rest of the batting was inconsistent. Of the bowlers, only Reon King did himself justice. Courtney Walsh was ineffective in both Tests; Curtly Ambrose, rested with his own agreement in the hope of extending his Test career, was badly missed.
For New Zealand, their twin series victories further enhanced their growing reputation as an international force although, a couple of months later, Australia again suggested that the gulf between the sides was as wide as the Tasman Sea. Chris Cairns confirmed his status as a world-class all-rounder with telling performances with the ball in both Tests as well as a crucial innings in the First. He finished with 17 wickets at the remarkable average of 9.94 apiece. His contributions in the one-day series were also important, as was the form of Nathan Astle, who totalled 320 runs at an average of 80. Daniel Vettori continued to suggest that he was the best left-arm spinner in world cricket in both forms of the game.
Match reports for
New Zealand v West Indies at Christchurch, Dec 3, 1999
Tour Match: New Zealand A v West Indians at Taupo, Dec 5-7, 1999
Tour Match: Auckland v West Indians at Auckland, Dec 10-13, 1999
1st ODI: New Zealand v West Indies at Auckland, Jan 2, 2000