PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Chris Gayle believes West Indies’ victory in the five-Test series against England was the culmination of determined effort from his side to lift their standard of play.
West Indies held on grimly for a draw in the fifth and final Test on Tuesday to win the five-Test series 1-0, following an innings and 23-run victory in the opening Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica, where they bowled England out for their third-lowest total in Tests of 51.
It also meant West Indies secured a series victory over England for the first time in 11 years and regained the Wisden Trophy which symbolises excellence in Tests between the two sides.
“England are a big side in World cricket – they are ranked above us,” West Indies captain Gayle said.
“We still have a lot of cricket to play and we are still learning the game every day. But this victory can help us lift our standard a little bit more.
“It will definitely help us to raise the bar, and we are now looking forward to our next Test series which is in England, where it is going to be tougher, and the conditions will be a bigger test for us over there.”
West Indies were set 240 for victory from a minimum of 66 overs, after England, leading by two runs on first innings, declared their second innings on 237 for six during the lunch interval on the last day.
As usual, West Indies sent their fans into a state of panic with the kind of slipshod batting that had typified them in previous series before they settled down to finish on 114 for eight in their second innings when time expired at Queen’s Park Oval.
“The plan was to bat properly,” Gayle said. “For the guys to play their natural game and see what happens, but we lost a few wickets, and that meant we had to ‘lock shop’ and we couldn’t look to get the runs at that time.
“But I had a lot of confidence in the guys. It was pretty tense out there. Batting in situations like this is never easy, and it got a bit scary coming down towards the end.
“But we had capable batsmen, Ramdin, and Fidel [Edwards] and [Daren] Powell have been in this situation before, so it was nothing new for them. And I was pretty confident that we could do it.”
Gayle also feels the players have started to buy into the concept of the word “team” and are getting to know each others strengths and weaknesses, as well as personalities better than before.
“Everybody has an understanding of what is required of them, rather than have someone constantly reminding them about how to go about situations,” he said.
“We are looking to not have to chop and change too much, so that we can build up a unit. It has been really, really good, and the guys have put in the hard work, so it has paid off for them out there.
“I am happy and overjoyed. The wins for us have not been coming often. I just want to commend each and everyone for the support they have given me, the character that they have shown individually and collectively.
“But this result is not only for the team, but all the people of the Caribbean, especially those living overseas, I am sure they are jumping for joy now.”