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Out-of-sorts Windies face northern chill

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Oliver Brett | 10:42 UK time, Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Chris Gayle sounded like Scott of the Antarctic when describing the rigours of playing cricket at Lord's in early May.

"The majority of the time I was batting out there, that wind was hitting me in the eye and there was a lot of water in the eyes as well".

Welcome to Chester-le-Street, Chris, some 270 miles due north of London. If you needed hand warmers to cope in NW8, you might need something stronger to get you through the day in County Durham.

England's 10-wicket drubbing of Gayle and his men in the first Test has provoked the suspicion that the 1-0 series win by West Indies earlier this year in the Caribbean was merely a false dawn.

When I asked veteran Windies commentator Tony Cozier to predict how the second Test would pan out, he was unequivocal: "It'll be the same," he said. "Over in three days."

At one point on day one at Lord's, England were 109-4 and in some trouble. But from tea onwards West Indies declined alarmingly, and it all started with six dropped catches in a single session.

"The catching has become abysmal," Cozier went on. "It's been bad for a long time and the problem is they don't have a fielding coach. The fielding drills lack energy.

"On the second morning, the bowlers played for swing. They didn't adjust quickly enough and Graeme Swann took it away from them with the bat. Everyone was saying he didn't like short-pitched bowling, but they were giving him half-volleys.


"They didn't come across him as a batsman in the Caribbean, but it's up to the coach to find out these things."

The West Indies Cricket Board were offered a great deal of money to tour England, and money is important in these days of dwindling sponsorship within sport.

The players themselves, partly due to pressure from their own representative group, are certainly being well looked after - especially those who had to cut short more lucrative Indian Premier League deals.

If one person epitomises the sudden fall from grace it is Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

He began the series ranked number one in the world for Test batsmen, and in 2007 England's bowlers found him harder to shift than the Rock of Sisyphus. But now he looks a care-worn figure, following scores of nought and four at Lord's.

"Chanderpaul would rather have a rest, and he really need one. He looks lethargic," said Cozier.

Windies pace legend Colin Croft told me: "He is a little bit tired, maybe. But he's been saving the West Indies for the past two years. We can't expect him to do it all the time."

Batsmen must apply themselves far better from numbers 1 to 11, he said. "You don't need to be expansive to be productive. You must play to your limitations. They all want to get on with it and get runs, all except Brendan Nash who is more patient and reminds me a lot of Larry Gomes. He knows you can get to 12 with six twos if you want. It doesn't have to be three fours."

Croft also revealed a fascinating conversation he had had with Alvin Kallicharran, the former West Indies captain who was one of their finest, and arguably most elegant batsmen in the 1970s.

Kallicharran had spotted a fundamental flaw in the techniques of the batsmen, who are presenting the blade of the bat at the ball from a crooked angle - rather than playing at the ball in a straight arc from behind.

What of the bowlers? Andrew Richardson, the tall Jamaican quick, is in line for a possible debut with Jerome Taylor looking a shadow of the man who destroyed England at Sabina Park in Jamaica.

"He doesn't have any fat on him," Croft said of Taylor. "People confuse being thin with being fit but that's not the case. Look at big guys in the past like myself and Joel Garner."

I spoke to both Croft and Cozier before Gayle's astonishing outburst disowning both Test cricket and the West Indies captaincy on Wednesday.

Other Windies players not selected for the Tests, Dwayne Smith and Dwayne Bravo, are having an absolute ball in the IPL, and one can understand why Gayle might wish he was still there.

But somebody has to provide a motivating force at Chester-le-Street, and that somebody is surely the captain. Or perhaps not.


  • Comment number 1.

    Mr Kallicharran is spot on with the angled blade observation and a fault in the batting of one Michael Vaughan's batting in the recent past too.

    Lucky Stanford is no longer around otherwise 20/20 would have achieved complete saturation of the cricket year. A couple of those high roller matches and some so called cricket stars would be retiring early it would seem.

    The test will be over in three days if there are enough gaps in the weather and at the moment Durham looks friendlier weatherwise than London.

  • Comment number 2.

    I am glad i don't have tickets for this series. The thought of watching a team captained by someone with this attitude towards the game does not fill me with excitement.

  • Comment number 3.

    If he doesn't want to be captain, and doesn't care about test cricket, he should be dropped from the test side. Some of these guys don't seem to have appreciated that the only reason they are getting vast sums from the IPL is that they are well known international players. Take away their international recognition and then see what the IPL is prepared to pay. They can't have it both ways.

  • Comment number 4.

    Sack him now. I'm sure there are plenty of people willing to place in his side. Most of whom would probably do much better.

  • Comment number 5.

    A week ago a selection of us were getting blasted for suggesting that Gayle was not a suitable leader for the team. Now it appears we were justified in our criticisms. If I were Dyson I would sack him and appoint Ramdin right now. He obviously doesn't care about the captaincy or test cricket - if he can't realise he has the biggest honour in West Indian cricket then more fool him

  • Comment number 6.

    Brett it is not for you to inspire Gayle to inspire his team. Leave him alone. Snide comments that Bravo and Dwayne having a ball in the IPL must be riling Gayle are also punches from the extreme south.

    OK Strauss won a Test. It doesn't give him a right to have an oblique go at the opposing captain. There can be no aim other than sowing some seeds of dissension in the WI camp. Very Australia like. Mind games,eh? Gayle is absolutely right in admonishing Strauss to mind his own business - which is keeping England motivated.

    The combined effect of the open criticism of Gayle's late arrival from IPL by the WI coach, and below-the-belt swipes by Strauss has Gayle hinting at kicking both Test cricket and the WI captaincy in the near future. That is not what we want. We wish to beat a totally focused opponent in a fair fight, in order to prepare realistically and meaningfully for the Ashes.

  • Comment number 7.

    If a reasonably good player like Chris Gayle cannot see the beauty of Test cricket then what hope for the sport in the West Indies? He is like the pop music fan who thinks that music begins and ends with a 3 minute record and cannot appreciate the beauty of a symphony (the reverse is also true in many cases with Test match purists). Of course, had the Windies prepared decent pitches for the winter tour we would not have been left with a bunch of matches comparable with Wagner's Ring cycle in length and attrition.

  • Comment number 8.

    I hope Gayles comments are borne out of momentary frustration because if the Captain of the West Indian side genuinely doesn't care one way or the other about test cricket then what's going on?! Such sentiments show disrespect to current crop of players, particularly the likes of Chanderpaul, and the great sides of the West Indies that I was unfortunately too young to appreciate at the time.

    Also well said eddixon!

  • Comment number 9.


    Not sure it is correct to state that Strauss was having an 'oblique go at the opposing captain'.

    By stating: "There's a line there. Certainly we wouldn't want our players to arrive two days before." - surely this is correct! - you either do one or the other (test or 20/20) properly!! - if he wanted to stay and play in S.Africa, then fine, but returning 2 two days before test match isn't good enough.

    For a captain to state that he doesn't care about test cricket in the lead up to a match, is incredible. Like Oliver states above, this and the display at Lords, has definitely un-done a lot of the good work achieved in the W.Indies by the team.

  • Comment number 10.

    People fail to realize that its the stress of captaincy getting to him. He is probably one of the best explosive batsman around right now. Not many bowlers want to bowl to him when hes in form and he makes any stadium look small. He would walk into any cricket team and is a better batsman than all the English players barring KP. People need to give the guy a break. If West Indies fails it always comes on the head of the captain. He doesnt want to deal with that. Also he feels if T20 plays a bigger role instead of Test Cricket than he rather play T20 and not deal with the stress(make some money also im not denying that).

    Im a avid fan of Test Cricket but we should let him have his opinion. As long as he performs I dont think it matters. It is none of Strauss's business as to how West Indies prepare and as to how late their players return from the IPL. I am going to expect a 100 from him in the second test. I am a big fan of Gayle and though I disagree with his views I am going to support him. Its ludicrous of people to say drop him.(it should be based on performance)

  • Comment number 11.

    There will hardly be a rush to listen to the advice of Kallicharan.

    He's still despised throughout the Caribbean and always will be.

  • Comment number 12.

    To my mind, Chris Gayle wasnt saying he doesn't care about test cricket; he was saying he would adapt better to the loss of test cricket than Ansdrew Strauss, and therefore wouldn't be "so (as) sad" as Strauss would,as he would survice. Strauss had commented on Gayle's participaton in the IPL. This was Gayle's retort, that Strauss should mind his own business, and if Gayle chooses to future-proof himself to work on other forms of the game, then it is his own choice. But that wouldnt be such a good story, would it? Read the quotes not the headlines.

  • Comment number 13.

    if didier Drogba is a disgrace to football, then chris gayle is a disgrace to cricket. After a loss by 10 wickets, instead of turning it over and upping his game he's just fallen flat on his back with his paws in the air and submitted. What a class act.

    if you don't want to be captain, give it to someone else, if you want to disrespect the great tradition of Test Cricket because you're simply not as good at it then quit, go back to the precious IPL and stop whinging about it, Test Cricket is simply a better display of good old fashioned cricket matches as it shows the intense mental and physical battle between a bowler with a leather ball and a batsmen with a piece of willow. The questions of "where is it going? where is it going to swing? how is the batsmen going to hit this" are not questions generally asked in the showboating highlight reel moneymaking career-selloutathon that is 20-20 or IPL. And all Die hard cricket fans and players will agree with me.

  • Comment number 14.

    AndiNero, if you read the article, Gayle says he doesnt want to be captain but his board appealed to him as ther was no-one else. For the sakeog his team, he took on the job. The pressures that go with it (eg misrepresented press interviews that he must do, endless boring sponsors lunches etc, dont appeal to him. When another candidate is founsd, he will give it up and hopes it is soon.. I dont see what is so bad about that. Comparisons to footballers' tantrums are unwarranted here.

    I agree Test Cricket is the purest, most complex and compelling form of the game. Sadly it cant pay its way, so these other forms subsidise it and also introduce new supportes who will soon tire of this MacCricket and want to dine out on test matches.

  • Comment number 15.

    The players wanted to be at the IPL, but the disastrous West Indies Cricket Board is in such a financial mess that it was desperate to come to England. Perhaps, Gayle and others shouldn't have been so loyal to a board that is unfit to administrate.

  • Comment number 16.

    It's a shame that one characteristic that has marked West Indies captains of late is a total lack of responsibility. The job seems to be handed down like an unwanted dose of leprosy ever since the West Indies fell from their pole position in world cricket. The reaction of Chris Gayle, both in turning up late and his subsequent comments, show a man who has fallen nicely into the mould of recent WI captains, more interested in himself than his team. He should be replaced as captain but on one sense he may be right. Who cares enough to want to do it?

  • Comment number 17.


    You do not lose much time in forgetting what happened to England in the West Indies. Please press 'refresh'.

  • Comment number 18.

    Its high time for calypso king gayle to understand that he is a leader and the captain of the team.. He must behave like one. I wonder what will drive the team to perform better in the secont test.

  • Comment number 19.

    11. At 1:10pm on 13 May 2009, E-Type wrote:
    There will hardly be a rush to listen to the advice of Kallicharan.

    He's still despised throughout the Caribbean and always will be.


    please forgive my ignorance, but why prey tell is he despised throughout the Caribbean?

  • Comment number 20.

    Agreed that Gayle's comments bordered on disrespect for the game, but more than likely they were made by a frustrated man. He is a good Captain and along with Dyson has been doing some decent work on building the synergy within the Windies camp in the last few months. Give him a chance because when the sun shines you will see them in action! ( what if they are fair weathered?!) Come on that fighting Windies spirit.

  • Comment number 21.

    "Soon I will be handing over this captaincy - it's definitely not something I'm looking to hang on to, I need some time for myself, it's a lot of travelling"

    India, or in the case of this year's IPL, South Africa, isn't exactly next door to the West Indies. Not ideal for someone that doesn't like a lot of travelling!

    He might be under pressure, frustrated and riled by comments by his opposite number, but he should lead by example and motive HIS players. If he can't or doesn't want to, then he should stop now, before the team goes even further downhill.

  • Comment number 22.

    The thing I am most shocked about is that the Windies have played only one test match since their heroics last winter and it has fallen to pieces! They showed lots of grit and determination in a succession of matches - surely they can learn from that and have a bit of self belief?
    Gayle does himself a great disservice with his comments - if the captain can't say the right thing then there is no hope for them.
    However, when I heard that the Windies were asked to play a test match in May in Durham, I did wonder whether someone at the ECB was having a right laugh! Barbados it ain't!

  • Comment number 23.


    "Snide"... "Punches from the extreme south"... You are entitled to your views of course, but I don't feel I am being overly judgemental here at all.

    Jimmy (no.19) - I agree with you, the Kallicharran observation needs qualification. I thought he was a bit of a hero to many West Indians. I know he was involved in a 1983? rebel tour to South Africa, and may have captained it, but I'm not sure he should be universally despised because of it...

  • Comment number 24.

    I am with Chris Gayle on this one. Why don't he just mind his own business. Strauss is just jealous that no-one will pick him to play 20/20. When West Indies beat England by an inning no one gives Strauss any advice so why give Chris now.This is a West Indies problem. It stems from the board being too greedy. No one wants to watch England play test cricket. The players are not motivated because they are not interested even Shiv looks like he rather be lying on a beach than be playing. I rather take a peek at the IPL and i don't even get why they are playing. Advice to Strauss and the rest of England - England might have invent cricket but u never dominate it so don't try to tell us what to do; we will find our way.

  • Comment number 25.

    why is bravo not in the test team? is he judged not good enough for test cricket or have they just agreed for him to play in the IPL. certainly as an england fan i would fear the Windies much more with him in the lineup

  • Comment number 26.

    It's a shame some are clinging to patriotic fervour to ignore the message.

    If Strauss stood up and said that he hates playing Test cricket and he thinks it's dying anyway, I'd want him immediately sacked and someone with actual passion for both the job and the role of promoting the game put in his place.

    This isn't some England vs Windies thing. This is someone, even if it's out of sheer petulant behaviour, proving themselves unworthly of being the captain of a Test side.

    Gayle doesn't want it, that's fine. Lighten the poor chap's load and strip him of captaincy, then ban him from the Test side. He can go play baseball-swings in the IPL and 20/20 as much as he likes then without that pesky difficult Test stuff getting in the way.

  • Comment number 27.


    I'd agree wuith you if Gayle had said "he hates playing Test cricket and he thinks it's dying", but he didn't. He just said he would cope better than Strauss without it if it did die. In fact, doing a job he doesnt really want to do because there is no-one else (being captain) is quite selfless. Can't see where he was being petulant. It was an honest one on one interview, not a rant, and words have been twisted. Prefer this to the usual bland interviews we normally get.

  • Comment number 28.

    Zoltan (no. 25): The WICB were apparently not happy with Bravo's fitness. Doesn't seem to have affected him in the IPL though, where he has had a pretty busy workload (and performed pretty well)

  • Comment number 29.

    I thought he was a bit of a hero to many West Indians
    Are you some sort of failed comedian?

    I'm not sure he should be universally despised because of it
    Really. Pass.

  • Comment number 30.

    If Gayle want to quit as captain then the WI cricket board should let him do so. He is not one of the great West Indian batsmen. He is just an average player because when he walks to the crease to bat many supporters will only hope he can fling the bat as I see it Gayle is not a descipline batsman.

    West Indies need a captain who will show unparallel committment,loyalty,unequal dedication and brings unity in the dressing room and I see That Denesh Ramdhin have all those qualities.

  • Comment number 31.

    This angry outburst by the West Indies captain is uncalled-for. He's acting like a spurned schoolyard bully!

    Chris Gayle, Test cricket, FYI, is the real cricket. Twenty/20 is not, it is hacket, hachet cricket. Twenty/20 is BS! The sooner they end it the better!

    And as for Strauss, he should learn to control what comes out of his pie hole! This chap loves to run his mouth off like a loose cannon! He should put a darn lid on it!

  • Comment number 32.

    I think a lot of the complainers are missing the point - the Windies came here to do you a favour, replacing the failed Zimbabwe tour at the last minute and allowing you some warm up before the Ashes...

    The Windies are at the end of a long string of games, who needs Strauss' whining?

    The IPL, county cricket, WI domestic and International One Day provide more than enough work and recompense to keep Gayle and his compatriots busy, I would have thought that where the WI Captain was is of little concern to Strauss - he was noticably quiet on the situation regarding his own IPL players that only returned recently, some of them injured. Mercenaries?

    It smacks of a poor effort at sledging - Strauss would be better off concentrating on his own game and England than slagging off the opposition before a ball has been bowled.

  • Comment number 33.

    Guys, you need to keep up with the news....

    Gayle was misquoted (deliberately?) by yet another English journalist with an agenda. He has no plans to quit the captaincy, despite what you might read in the Guardian.

    He still believes that Test cricket provides the ultimate test (watch the interview of Sky Sports News, while ignoring the spin they put on the headline). He just says that when the time comes to make a choice between the two, some time in the distant future, he will go for 20/20 cricket, because that's where he's more successful.

    A storm in a teacup....

  • Comment number 34.

    Que a Windies win in Durham with a big Gayle Hundred. Mind games to distract England!

  • Comment number 35.


    With the greatest respect, Gayle has not said he was misquoted. "Misinterpreted" is the word he uses. The interview in the Guardian was with a female journalist who is not a regular cricket reporter, but one who has a track-record in getting strong interviews out of her subjects. Certainly, in his interview with Aggers, Gayle makes it clear he does not wish to be captain long-term and that he personally favours Twenty20. You are entitled, of course, to call this a storm in the teacup

  • Comment number 36.

    Shivfan whilst this has been blown out of proportion Gayle is being more disrespectful than you suggest.
    For any player to come out and devalue test cricket is one thing, but as test captain of his country Gayle should know better.
    What does it say to Fidel Edwards when his captain thinks that Fidel performing well in 20/20 is more important than his 5 wicket haul at lords!

    As an England fan I don't mind him doing this because all it will do is demoralize his team further and set up another spineless display against England over the next 5 days.

  • Comment number 37.


    Finally a voice of reason. Gayles quotes are open to interperation. I would go as far to say that there has been a bit of spin doctoring here to try and gain some extra interest in the next test match in order to sell more tickets......

    Although i could be wrong :-)

  • Comment number 38.

    I absolutely have when all Englishman go on all day about the Ashes and nothing else matters. Well let me tell you in the stodgy days of the 50's, 60's,early 70's English & Aussie cricket was almost dead and buried. Only those cricketers from those wonderful Calpypso islands kept the game alive & worth watching and Cricket lovers all round the world owe a lot of debt to West Indies Cricket. Lets face it in the last 40 years we have had the incomparable Sorbers, master blaster Richards, and Princely Lara who would be in the make the top 5 list without question.

    Englishman never remissness about those wonderful history of cricket confrontations between Eng-WI - its always the Ashes - WHY???

    Even England Football supporters have moved on from thinking beyond beating Scotland as the be & all.

  • Comment number 39.

    When he said "kids dont talk about test cricket" that is total bull. As Im still at school its all anyone talks about.

    38. I agree mostly but your last comment about Scotland is incorrect. I rarely here football fans talk about that!

  • Comment number 40.

    The fact is, that the scores for twenty 20 games are getting lower and lower each year. Just a couple of years ago 180 was considered a par score in every game. How many teams in the IPL have reached 180 runs in a game this year?
    The point is, that twenty 20 is a luck game. Sometimes you get it right, and most times even the best players in the world cant score more then 150 runs in a game.
    Therefore, real cricket is test cricket. I am a young guy and i consider twenty 20 as a faze. There is nothing in the world like a good day five of test cricket. Which other sport can keep you so focused for hours on end?

  • Comment number 41.

    As a longsufferiing Windies fan, I thought Chris Gayle's comments were unhelpful, when the authorities are struggling to prolong the life of Test cricket, the only 'real' cricket that exists. I understand that he may feel a bit peeved at Strauss's perceived meddling, but surely, in competitive professional sport, a participant has the right to demand the opponent's 'A' game, rather than a ho-hum, let's-get-this-over-with display? And what of the hard-up, paying public? The Test did'nt even last til the weekend !

  • Comment number 42.

    TThe West Indies board is very weak.The tests should never have happened. The West Indies players didn't want it. It was arranged as a practice for the England v Australia test. Roll on Saturday


  • Comment number 43.

    yislon wrote:

    The fact is, that the scores for twenty 20 games are getting lower and lower each year

    Thats a very good point, what started out as wham bam has gradually transformed into a more technical game.

    Long live test cricket as that is the true test of grit and determination on a cricket pitch.

  • Comment number 44.

    Its interesting how many of those who decried KP a few short months ago when he said (after a test series played under the most difficult of conditions) that the personal issues between him and the Coach needed sorting, a good chunk of these same people now seem to be backing Gayle! Can you imagine what would happen if KP had turned up for the first Windies game to days before and scored 4? 1000's would be queuing to post savaging comments on these boards.

    Onto Gayles comments and actions - First why can't Strauss speak out? Gayles behaviour was downright insulting turning up 2 days before, and to say you don't care about tests the day before is insane! Why is he playing? Why not stay and slog in SA? Gayles arguments for not wanting to play are so full of holes you could make a good sprinkler out of it! He doesn't want to travel so much but wants to go 1/2 way round the world to play IPL? Rubbish! I would bet my house that if Strauss had said that tests are meaningless after the 1st test in the windes it would have been taken as a sign of a poor looser, why isn't Gayle seen like this?

    One final point, on the weather - Can the BBC commentators please stop moaning about the weather and how it is bad for the Windies! For goodness sake you gave our players no sympathy when they are taken off the field with heat-stroke why harp on so much about the wind? The heat is part of the Windies home advantage, as is the Cold one of ours, and sporting as the nation tends to be the only way to get round this is to only have 1 home test series a year (the windies moaned 2 years ago when the tests were several weeks later) and that would be signing the games death warrent!

  • Comment number 45.

    Let's fast forward 20 years. Test & County cricket has died because all the 'superstars' decided to play 20-20 knockabout. Unfortunately Old Father Time has taken his toll and now the 1st generation of 20-20ers have all gone back to the pavilion for good. Please can somebody tell me who is then going to get 'bought' for 20-20, and on what basis?

    The whole concept of 20-20 is shortlived, make a quick rupee and get out. The spectators have the attention span of a gnat, sadly a symptom of much of the worst aspects of modern living.

  • Comment number 46.

    If the West Indians don't want to be in Durham, let's put them out of their misery and win in under 3 days.

  • Comment number 47.

    Don't get me wrong, I like 20-20, but I also happen to like tests. I think players like Gayle can say this and may be get away with this is because of the lack of quality in the current West Indies team. Even if he decides to drop out from test cricket, he believes he will be able to continue his 20-20 and ODI (unless he thinks ODI is not worth). And given the current condition of the WI cricket, I think he will still be able to continue his glittering career for WI and IPL, etc, (may be not as a captain).
    But what he is forgetting that its test cricket (and ODI) that have made him what he is. Its for the oldest formats of the game, we have seen so may legends in world cricket. 20-20 is mostly entertainment than sports. If Tendulkar only played 20-20, Yousuf Pathan would have ended up becoming the bigger star than him. If Warne had played only 20-20, may be Rohit Sharma would have been bigger star. Its test cricket that shows us the true class of a player. My suggestion to WI would be to fire Gayle from playing for WI (before he himself leaves it and further damages test cricket). I bet after 2-3 years of playing IPL, he would beg for a place in WI cricket. Because in 20-20, he is no better than players like Ravi Teza, or x, y, z.

  • Comment number 48.

    That was the last straw for me with regards to the unpredictable, unintellectual and irresponsible Chris Gayle.

    For him to denigrate and lower Test cricket is a quintessential example of stupidity, arrogance and selfishness.

    It was the World Cup, 2007: Venue: Providence Stadium, Guyana: WI vs. Lanka. Chris Gayle walks out on to the field looking totally 'lifeless' and languid. He struggled to chase after the ball. He had been partying late into the night, just before an important event.

    The way he performed suggested that he had rather be in bed, not running around all day.

    West Indies, indeed all teams, do not need players of this caliber, irresponsibility and immaturity. Sure enough he's talented and can break a game wide open with his amazing ability and strength to swing the bat, but his lack of discipline is one of the main reasons for the inconsistency of West Indies cricket in recent years.

    It is quite easy to understand why he'd prefer Twenty20 to Test cricket. He wouldnt have to bust his lazy ass off on the field for five days.

    Test cricket is what cricket is all about. Twenty20 is like the WWE, it attracts its own crowd, but its not cricket. Finally, no one has the right to degrade Test cricket. If we stopped playing it, we might as well stop playing cricket and banish the Game to the trash bin of history.

    Chris Gayle should categorically apologize!

  • Comment number 49.

    Every type of International Cricket Match has its very own Excitement be it One day International or Five day Test,Twenty20 or or or but one thing is for sure it all began a long time ago as a Test Series between Two countries who would take up the challenge with pride and play as a Team led with passion and desire to defeat the opposing team.
    A Captain must lead from the front and be an example to all his Team and have their respect but he is also part of the team.
    Sometimes in life is is to our advantage when we listen to our Mentors of the past, Sobers, Kanhai,Lloyd,Richards, Kallicharan, Lara as they have shone for us or maybe others seeing through their eyes with passion and desire to help and guide us through to be a better side and helping the West Indies Cricket team must surely be a bonus to embrace

  • Comment number 50.

    I notice a move to suggest that Chris Gayle's words were fabricated/twisted/changed by the journalist. In fact, any journalist who expects players to keep talking to him will be pretty careful that he reports the facts. Titles are another matter and are usually added by the sub-editor with the journalist having no control at all. It sounds like Chris Gayle made some pretty unguarded comments that *maybe* he hoped would be off the record, without actually stating BEFORE talking that it was not for publication.

    The comments about Andrew Strauss are just incomprehensible. Ahead of the Ashes series the Australians are talking about the England team, selection policy, the foibles of the captain, who should be picked and just about everything else. It's par for the course. If you tell someone to mind their own business it's just a manifestation of weakness: you don't like a comment, you shove it down the guy's throat on the pitch rather than moaning and whining about it.

    The West Indians may not be taking this series seriously, but England are. They are hurting and want revenge. They also want some momentum because the next two series are Australia (H) and South Africa (A) and you don't get much tougher than that. During the winter England won the ODIs, but lost the Test series: who cares about winning the ODI series? Who actually remembers that in recent series England have beaten India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and the West Indies? They only remember that three of three of the four corresponding Test series were lost! As for T20... can anyone even remember the results from last season?

    I grew up in an era when the West Indies reigned supreme, almost every English county had someone, as Peter Roebuck put it "very tall, very black and very fast". You scored runs against Hampshire (Malcolm Marshall), Somerset (Joel Garner), Middlesex (Wayne Daniel), Lancashire (Patrick Patterson), Surrey (Sylvester Clarke), etc ... you knew that you had earned them the hard way.

    Beating the West Indies was always the supreme prize for any side. I would like to see a strong West Indian side return because world cricket needs them.

  • Comment number 51.

    I don't like 20/20 and I don't much like the substance of what Gayle was reported as saying in the interview (and I guess I'd like it even less if I were from the West Indies). But, having said that -

    I suspect that CG was cold and hacked off and felt like having a little poke back at Strauss in response to a perceived slight ... and

    It's nice to see a cricketer expressing himself as eloquently as Gayle is reported as having done in the Grauniad (worth seeking out the original interview)- though I don't know whether the reporter might have been indulging in a teeny bit of New Journalism in the way she reported it?

  • Comment number 52.

    #32 zootalaws,#33 shivfan and #37 eirebilly fairly sum up the situation concerning this Gayle episode.

    Gayle is a man who speaks from his heart and like most West Indians, he is not much good at dissemblance. This honest and candid attitude has a way of landing them in hot water especially with the sophisticated Western media that rarely fail to put a clever spin on some very innocent and innocuous utterances. I cannot see much difference in 'misinterpreted' and 'misquoted'.

    In so far as Strrauss' aspersion on captain Gayle's 'delinquent' and 'disrespectful' attitude towards the West Indian team and Test cricket in general goes, I'll say I do not remember Gayle giving Strauss any homilies when England's nose was being rubbed into sand in the West Indies. He pretty much minded his own business.

    The discussion has somehow transposed into odious comparisons between Test cricket and its youngest sibling, the Twent20 cricket. Both are beautiful and artistic in their own right and are not treading on each others toes. The general proclivity to disparage the shorter variety is somewhat misplaced and may turn out to be as short-sighted as it was in the case of One Day cricket's advent. I believe, given some time the two are likely to complement each other splendidly, if they are not doing so already.

  • Comment number 53.

    Gayle inadvertently has a point..

    Sad but true Test Cricket in most parts of the world is on life-support. TV and easy-money calls the tune, they play far too much international cricket. Like chatel dragged from minnie-mouse tournament to the next. Can anyone tell me, in a full Ashes summer - what is the point of playing two test matches in early May? The standard of cricket in the winter was for the most part poor. Cast your mind back to the last Ashes series down under. Five test matches squeezed into SEVEN weeks between a tournament in Asia and the all-important (for the ratings) new-year round-robin one day series.

    To quote the great Michael Holding "never seen a 20/20 match .... nor do I intend to."

  • Comment number 54.

    It was a huge mistake to introduce Twenty/20 'cricket'. It has certainly tainted the beauty and poetry of the Game, perhaps irrevocably!

  • Comment number 55.

    Gayle has a point.

    Stadiums are 99% Empty in the majority of Test Matches.

    Even in the Ashes, statiums resort to giving away most tickets free in even the "most exciting" last days in the Test.

    It's only really England, Australia and to some extent South Africa who have some 'history' behind test cricket, other than that, it's just not appealing to the majority of the population.

    I mean, it's not even appealing to most cricketing fans!

  • Comment number 56.


  • Comment number 57.

    I don't know to what extent that Chris Gayle can be blamed for disliking tests cricket. As a caribbean man, I would find it really hard to motivate myself playing test cricket in England at this time of the year. I can sympathise with him and the other West Indian cricketers. Poor old Chanderpaul and the other fellows. I doubt they can actually feel their fingers fielding out in the cold blustery conditions let alone take catches. I don't think any of these players would have bargained for coming to England and playing a test match at Durham at this time of the year. It is the ineptitude of the West Indies cricket board that have led to us being paupers scrapping at the rich man's table. I know England will gleefully take all the advantage afforded them in any Home series match and rightly so, but if they really want to prepare for the Ashes, then consdering that Australia are much more formidable opponents to the West Indians, it would have made sense to give the west indians some encouragement to play rather than take them to Durham. If the test match is finished in two days, I hope the ECB will seriously look at the bigger picture and ask themselves whether this was money well spent.

  • Comment number 58.

    Gayle has just vocalised what every touring team member feels about playing in and against england.
    With continuous rain ,a below average opposition and a 'intelligent' english press , england is no one's dream tour, more like a punishment.
    The english take the 'great' in their name very seriously , the rest of the world just laughs.

  • Comment number 59.

    I can see Poor Chris being vilified by English press.

    Coming to the real questions.

    1. Was this series really required when they have just played 5 (or 4) Tests few weeks back? No

    2. Was this series required when it pushes out the bigger series next year to 2012? No

    3. Was this series required to fulfill ECB contract with Sky? Yes

    4. Was this series required as a warmup to Ashes? Yes

    So when a series in only required to fill the pockets of ECB and qualified as warmup to Ashes with no other interest whatsoever from ECB or WICB why would you expect WI players with lucrative IPL contracts to be so focussed and determined? The simple fact that WI players were offered money to tour England tells that Eng-WI series was only about money to everyone involved so English fans should stop claiming any higher moral rights.

    Test cricket is more important than T20 but this is not the right way to make it more important. If administrators follow the same way Tests will lose whatever shine it has.

  • Comment number 60.

    Three points:

    Any way the greater global cricket community can help get the West Indies back on their feet is imperitive. No side wants an easy ride, most sportsman want to earn their victory not be given it on plate.

    Dwayne Bravo? Even if he is half fit he should stroll into their team, I suspect a half fit Bravo would have pouched 5/6 of those chances on the first/second day

    The demise of the West Indies; Ask any legend in the Carribean most will tell you the players don't lack the talent, the players lack the discipline and structure to compete. You can only ever show your talent when you've earnt the right to. Australia etc consistently do this, allowing their falir players to take chances and punish team severely, but they always earn the right because they cmplete

  • Comment number 61.

    "I spoke to both Croft and Cozier before Gayle's astonishing outburst disowning both Test cricket and the West Indies captaincy on Wednesday."

    This is just not what he said. Why do you and your colleagues choose to make something from nothing. He said that there are other people who are more interested in the captaincy and that the future may lead to him stepping down. He also said that 'he has always been a captain' 'that being a captain has given him a lot' and he, for the time being, will carry on being captain. He mentioned that twenty20 brings in a greater crowd but at the same time agreed that test cricket is a huge test, the ultimate and requires patience and skill he agreed that it is the main aspect to cricket. But that he enjoys the one day stuff.

    To read the articles you would think that both captains had been in a huge brawl. When you see the interviews they both think that it is funny. When the 'interviewer' asked what they would say during the toss I am sure they both thought the same - lets have a good laugh at the bored press with nothing else to do but embellish comments.

    They have to find it funny - They must sit in the changing rooms laughing at things like this. One says England would like more than two days to prepare - the other say I prefer one days anyway - and you lot end up with a load of articles interviews and make something from nothing.

  • Comment number 62.

    I have been watching the IPL in South Africa. While it has been interesting instant cricket that has showcased a lot of international stars (who got most of their fame from test cricket:-)it has been going on and on and on and I think it's starting to wear a bit thin already, nearly like the Super 14 rugby, too much. I think it's going to mess up cricket any many ways as it is not a strategy game, you don't have enough time to settle in as a batsman and survive the good balls and score off the bad, it's just a slogfest. Have never seen so many catches dropped in my life too. Never mind their term for a 6, a 'DLF maximum' and the 'silly moment of success', I cringe every time I hear those phrases. Are we now going to call it a Wheatabix maximum when the sponsor changes? Perhaps the stadiums are not full for test cricket but it has ebb and flow over 5 days and strategy plays a huge part in it and I believe is watched by huge TV audiences as well. 20/20 is like instant coffee, flavourless and sweet, and test cricket like a nice slow brewed cuppa with flavour and aroma. They both have their part in the game. I think 20/20 is going to kill the 50 over game rather, that would be a silly moment of success.

  • Comment number 63.

    paulatforest #45 is spot on - you only pay big money for the big players, but who will the big players be in 20 years time?

    As for chris gayle - he was complaining about crowds not turning up all winter - if he acted like he wanted to turn up as well, his team would be in a better spot to attract them back. Who wants to watch the west indies slope around the field, dropping 6 catches in one session, having to bat for 2 days but try to knock it for 6 every other ball?

    He is entitled to his opinion on test cricket, but made his motives clear when he said he was only thinking about himself and his future. That's the part I find disgraceful for an international cricket captain

  • Comment number 64.

    Seems to me that Chris Gayle is only saying what most people in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and even New Zealand feel about cricket.

    If judging the turn out for this match is anything to go on it appears that the English don't like test cricket as much either.
    Oh wait, is that Chris Gayles fault too?

  • Comment number 65.

    I've always said that Chris Gayle is a good one day player and an average test player at best. He's a stylised batsman, a poor captain and his attitude stinks!

    I for one am glad that Strauss came out and said his piece. Why shouldn't he as a fellow international captain who has perceived his comments to be out of order. OK, Strauss is no 20-20 player by his own admission and I don't think that even enters into this. Maybe there's a 'mind game' element to it, but that's part of the game. He's just pointing out what is obvious, that Gayle would clearly rather be playing and earning big cash in the IPL than captaining his country in a test match against England. Say what you will about that but I for one would not want someone with that attitude captaining my country!

    Sevenseaman - There's a big difference between 'misquoted' and 'misinterpreted'. Are you serious?

  • Comment number 66.

    Twenty20 has been great for cricket; it has really raised the interest of spectators who wouldn't normally go to the games.

    But Test cricket is the ultimate. I worry that we may also lose the 4 day game in the County Championship if players and the ECB become too money-driven.

    We may end up with a Twenty20 roadshow, travelling the world playing every few weeks in a new country. This will be the death of cricket.

    The organisers need to have a good look at the pricing as well - this is why the ground is mainly empty today

  • Comment number 67.

    £10 a ticket will see a full ground, ticket prices this year are prohibitive. Management seem to think it is ok to see how much they can `get away with` rather than work out prices properly and rationally.
    One of your contributors earlier mentioned wearing a North East fishermans jumper. They are known as Ganseys. Each fishing village had it`s own distinctive pattern which helped identify bodies washed up by the sea.

  • Comment number 68.

    RE: The debate about low attendances. Nobody on TMS has mentioned the fact that test cricket is no longer on terrestial television. Very few people can see it, least of all youngsters. Nobody talks about the cricket at work the next day anymore because nobody has seen any of it. It passes people by, now. Putting the sport exclusively on minority tv is having huge detrimental effects on the game and will for the future too.

  • Comment number 69.

    Soo many empty seats at Durham today ...

    I prefer the longer game, gave up watching international 50-overs long ago (there's too much of it) and not interested in 20/20. I make no apologies for that, just a preference. Once Test cricket goes, I go too.
    Spate of boring, meandering draws played on slow pitches, teams racking up 600-odd in empty stadiums will be the death knell of Test cricket. This is no longer going to cut it. Can test cricket be saved, do they even care?

    4-day Test cricket?

    90/100 overs per innings, restrictions on negative field placings - bowlers trying to take wickets, batsman scoring runs. Spectators turn up at the beginning of the days play knowing exactly where they stand. The fourth day, one team is trying to win the game, the other saving it .. all three results are possible. Over-simplified and contrived perhaps, but worth a try?

    Forget all the mumbo-jumbo about Test World Championships, as long as live cricket is interesting, exciting if you like ... that's enough.

  • Comment number 70.

    In some places in the West Indies, cricket isn't that big a deal.
    Michael Manley bemoaned the rise of interest in basketball and other sports and the decline in cricket - evident in Jamaica probably more so than the smaller islands.
    "This book will highlight the sad demise of West Indian cricket, as the accessibility of cable television has shown youngsters in the Caribbean other sports, ones which offer untold wealth to even those of moderate professional standard. "

    Whether it was the Lawrence "Yagga" Rowe and co's tour of then apartheid South Africa, or Kerry Packer or Twenty20, the outlook on the sport may be less rosy away from the traditional-cricket-concious/affluent home of the game.

    For this tour, WI were drafted in as a stopgap when others fell through. They don't want to be here anymore than their Captain does. The journalist got a wellspun story out of Gayle. True, it's none of Strauss' business. People in past had snide comments about Shane Warne and co and regretted it when the series came round. In this case, WI cricket is downhill and will probably keep going downhill...who wants to go into cricket when there are other more lucrative sports? when they aspire to sports/track scholarships in the US, etc? As the Colin Croft interview shows, the Captains since Viv's time have had the post foisted on them reluctantly. Gayle would give it up if anybody wanted it.
    This is not just about Gayle. The guys are looking at the lucrative area of the sport (IPL, etc) for a "bread"...and the youngsters looking on aren't going into cricket (more a Shaka Hislop than a Brian Lara.) Plus the WICBC seems very does the organisation, coaching, etc, etc, etc

    Contrast the attitude of traditionalists (because Stanford - before we found out what was what - had some ladies sitting on his lap / flew in a chopper to the ground) and Gayle and his brethren on winning all that money.
    "Gayle said. "Pietersen told me he didn't really need the money and we needed it more. Who doesn't need a million? You've got to be crazy. If they didn't want that, you can give it to us and we'll take it."
    How they took it, though Gayle confessed to feeling the pressure as the Superstars' six-week training camp went by. "This is better than anything in the world. I'm not going to lie to you."
    he said he would spend the money, and some of it he will to fund heart treatment for his brother and father."

    Whatever the stae of the WICBC coffers, the guys got dragged someplace they don't want to be. Sad all round. For spectators, for everyone.

  • Comment number 71.

    Someone asked about Kallicharran - the sentiment by some may be down to the "rebel" tour. Others have moved away, fallen on hard times...ah well...

    "The West Indian players were mainly talented understudies struggling to break in to the great West Indian Test team of the period, or men past their prime as Test players. The squad comprised Lawrence Rowe (captain), Alvin Kallicharran (vice-captain), Hartley Alleyne, Richard Austin, Faoud Bacchus, Herbert Chang, Sylvester Clarke, Colin Croft, Alvin Greenidge, Bernard Julien, Collis King, Monte Lynch, Everton Mattis, Ezra Moseley, David Murray, Albert Padmore, Derick Parry, Franklyn Stephenson, Emmerson Trotman and Ray Wynter. First-class cricketers in the West Indies were then poorly paid and the participants, many of whom had irregular or no employment in the off-season, received between US$100,000 and $120,000 dollars for the two tours. Rowe has since stated that he and several other players were disillusioned with the West Indies Cricket board for not selecting them despite good performances" "

    "The unforgiven
    The West Indian public were outraged by the tour and Rowe himself was ostracised in Jamaica. This may have been a primary reason for Rowe subsequently settling down in Miami, USA.

    When Jerome Taylor, a fellow Jamaican, gets a standing ovation for his five-wicket haul, Danny cannot control himself. "I could have done that," he sobs.
    Joining the large section of critics were the West Indian captain, Clive Lloyd - "I know that some of them are out of work and the money is very tempting but that is not all in life" - and fast bowler Michael Holding. Money, no doubt, was the clinching factor. It was reported that the Test cricketers who went on the rebel tour would be paid $120,000 (£60,000) for two seasons while the others would get $100,000. Finding a place in the all-conquering West Indies side of the time required almost superhuman ability and, unlike first-class cricketers in England, those on the fringes were financially crippled.

    Writing in the Nation soon after the tour began, Tony Cozier unravelled the link between the seven Bajan cricketers who undertook the journey, articulating their monetary positions. None had worked in Barbados during the off-season for some years preceding the tour. Clarke, who had three daughters to support, was a carpenter by trade but had not worked as one since he began his cricket career in 1978. Moseley had been a waiter at a south coast hotel before he signed a contract to play in one of the English leagues. King's father was a foreman at a sugar factory. Emerson Trotman occasionally worked in a car rental firm but had no permanent job in Barbados. And Alvin Greenidge had no professional employment since he began playing overseas. In fact, one of the rebels, Albert Padmore, in a letter to the Barbados Cricket Association on behalf of the island's players, spelt out that economic considerations were the chief reason. "

    contrast that with

  • Comment number 72.

    this tour should not have happened in the first place, a last minute tour decision by the west indies board made it a sure thing that the team would go to england and fail. Most of these players are torn between existing contracts that they should be fulfilling with the IPL right now and this last minute tour that was arranged wihout their consultation by the board. I did not even know that these games were happening until a few weeks ago, as i believed it was the sri lankan team that should be touring england. Ironically they opted out because their players were scheduled to be in the IPL. See the difference?

  • Comment number 73.

    >>"64. At 12:07pm on 14 May 2009, Bajancricketman wrote:
    Seems to me that Chris Gayle is only saying what most people in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and even New Zealand feel about cricket."

    hear, hear

    The attitude to the game is different - it seems that here people actually scoff at someone playing and earning big cash in the IPL rather than captaining his country in a test match! But, for some,it's really all about the money. For those outside, maybe not here where life is more secure, for them, it ain't quite the same. Again, is this a generational change? Or wising up to getting while the getting is good - not wanting to end up as some past WI heroes who've nothing to fall back on after the game is over?

    On an aside. Too, maybe cricket is a generational England, can see asian youth playing the game but how many young people (say, of WI descent) play cricket - don't know but a study would be yes, it grabs the parks, etc...would be interesting to see how the game develops here.

    Hope there's a future for different strands of the game, everyone's gotta eat - even if IPL upsets some.

  • Comment number 74.

    On the subject of Durham and weather, call me stupid, but why can't we play the Australians in May?

    No. Make that March.

    And I think it's time we played a Test match in Scotland.

  • Comment number 75.

    before Gayle can speak negatively about Test Cricket, he should think for a moment. He should understand that Test Cricket is a test of one's true cricketing abilites and quality over a longer period of time.
    As for IPL and 20-20 cricket, ok it's great and exciting, but doesnt prove who are the best sides or best players in the World.

    For example, Bangladesh has beaten Sth Africa and Australia in a ODI, but would they be able to beat them in a Test Match ?? NO, me thinks !!

    So Test Cricket is important for deciding which players are at the peak of their abilites and which country is the top cricketing nation.

  • Comment number 76.

    Firstly, test cricket DOESN'T need to be staged differently, the tickets need to be priced reasonably - and if the market is going to be wrested back from football, etc, then it needs to be back on free-to-air television. To put it bluntly, many of the younger generation of English, as well as West Indian, cricket fans have the mind-set of children (that's the 'progressive' 1960's influence for you), with short attention-spans and low boredom thresholds. They prefer football (at THIS time of year) or crash-bang wallop limited overs stuff to the sophistication of 'stodgy, boring' test cricket (that is still full of tactical intrigue and technical interest). Okay, with the West Indies it's baseball, but the principle is the same. It's a universal problem, and I'd rather see the powers that be make a determined effort to get people interested in the more traditional forms of cricket again rather than pander to the fast-food generation.

  • Comment number 77.

    Who was your stellar interviewee and can we listen to that hillarious lunchtime interview again. Aggers being out aggersed, I thought......

  • Comment number 78.

    I can honestly say that this is not a north/south question. I have no problem with a test match being played at Chester le Street, but was wondering if the ECB could have possibly used the venue at a time of year when there is a chance of having 4 or 5 days of dryish and warm weather. Most international cricket fans will probably regard the ground as just south of the artic circle now which is unfair and damaging for Durham's future chances.

  • Comment number 79.

    We may end up with a Twenty20 roadshow, travelling the world playing every few weeks in a new country. This will be the death of cricket.

  • Comment number 80.

    Twenty20 'cricket' must be put to rest once-and-for-all by the power that be or it will eventually spell the end of the cricket as we know it!

    It was a colossal mistake to introduce it in the first place! In a sobering context, how can this format augment a promising youngster's talent, career, for example? How can it show his progress, step by step, with time, as he develops an innings of significance?

    Normally, cricket men are men of intelligence, of purpose, of thought! Twenty20 is synonymous to gangsterism, to shot-sightedness, and to self-serving purposes! What a pity! Is this the path we want to travel?

  • Comment number 81.

    Test matches in May (or even April) - weather a bit dodgy and possibly relatively cold. Conditions that our players are used to and other countries are not (except maybe New Zealand). Sounds like a good reason to host any many as possible in April/May !!

  • Comment number 82.

    Windies to play India, the selectors have indeed shown that previous recent 'success', albeit limited was a false dawn in commonsense.

    The omission of Lendl Simmons from the ODI side vs India, is nothing short of ludicrous.

    But then, this is the same side that took Pedro Collins to South Africa a number of years back, our bes bowler at the time, but did not once play him, even when Fidel Edwards subsequently got injured.

    Simmons being able to make such a strong showing vs South Africa in particular, indicated true ability.

    Now, left out in the cold.

    Wondrous Windies Selectors have boggled the mind and outdone themselves, yet again.

  • Comment number 83.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?


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