Bravo, now build on it
Michael Holding says the West Indies must build on their Test series success on the limited-overs stage.
Last Updated: 13/03/09 8:55am
Fresh optimism is flooding through West Indian cricket - the trick now is to build on it.
After beating England, it will be exciting to see where this team can go and with Dwayne Bravo back in the frame for the Twenty20 and one-day games the bowling and the team already looks stronger.
I expect Bravo and Jerome Taylor to be more effective in English conditions than they are in the Caribbean when the West Indies start their tour in April because they hit the seam hard.
They will be a handful even if it is likely to be very cold when the squad arrives! I think the weather is why England decided to put one of the Test matches up in Durham; I'm sure if Scotland was a part of England they would have put a Test match in Scotland!
Of course, I'm as happy as everyone that the West Indies managed to win the Test series and Chris Gayle deserves all the praise that comes his way but from a purist's view I wish the game had been played a little bit differently.
I'm not sure I'm happy about the way the West Indies went about this last Test. Cricket is about three disciplines: batting, bowling and fielding but it seemed to me that all the West Indies were interested in was batting.
Some people say that the ends justify the means but that isn't what life is all about: if you get rich by cheating you don't say 'well, I'm rich now so everything is ok'.
I don't have a problem with the West Indies saying 'look we are 1-0 up in the series, we don't have to make the running here'. That is fine, but you still have to play in the spirit of the way the game should be contested.
When you are in the field, you still have to try and get people out by changing field placings or making bowling changes. A lot of the time I got the impression that Chris Gayle was just waiting for England to make whatever they felt like making and then just go out and bat. I don't really buy into that ethos.
It is dangerous tactic going into a game aiming to draw; the West Indies almost lost due to the fact that they were not trying to win at any stage. I don't think you should ever go into any contest and let the opposition know what you are trying to do.
It's not that Chris Gayle was disinterested. At no time in the series did he get animated or look excited, but that is the way he is. You can't judge Chris Gayle by his body language.
His achievement is to foster a strong spirit and enthusiasm in the side and it must have come from him rather than winning because in case anyone hadn't noticed the West Indies haven't been doing too much of that in recent years!
The players respect him as he does them, they enjoy his company - you don't even have to ask the team, you can tell by looking at them that they are a happy group of guys.
Ramnaresh Sarwan was the standout player of the series and I hope that this gives him the platform to go on and big runs more consistently.
But I was particularly pleased for Brendan Nash because when he started to play for Jamaica a lot of people weren't that keen on him representing the West Indies.
I think he has now shown everyone that he can perform at the highest level and that he plays a very important part in this West Indies team.
Look at the amount of hours that he spent at the crease during this series - without his efforts the side would have struggled. Application is certainly one of his strengths - he puts in an awful lot of hard work and now he has got his reward.
For almost a day he and Shivnarine Chanderpaul blunted England's bowlers but I can't have any sympathy for any bowlers in Trinidad because that was the sort of pitch that we used to play on in the Caribbean.
People keep on talking about how the pitches in the Caribbean have changed - that is all rubbish. Most of them have always been slow. Barbados is the only pitch in the Caribbean that over history has had pace and bounce; the rest of them have always been batsmens' paradises.
If the West Indies had three Fidel Edwards's in their team England would have lost this series 3-0.