England savour their rare win
England celebrated an end to 31 years of series win against West Indies tonight. It was in 1969 when England last won a series over the West Indies.
The Caribbean skipper Jimmy Adams admitted the 3-1 defeat at the hands of England has reflected this summer's exchanges. Darren Gough who finished as England's top wicket taker with 25 scalps which includes five dismissals of Brian Lara - the notable one today as the last chance of West Indies' hope was destroyed and made England win by 158 runs - won the Man of the Series award.
While being proud to be a part of the team and the turn around, Gough reflected "This year I've been surprised at the way we've gelled together, everybody who has come in has fitted in well. And we've got bowlers who can compete with everyone in the world. Obviously we still lack the express pace and the magical spinner, but as a four we've bowled excellently all season."
While praising Hussain as a proud and magnificent leader, Gough said that Hussain is the best captain he has played with and hoped he will keep going.
Hussain looked both relieved and weary having won the series. While admitting that there is a big difference between 3-1 and 2-2 when Lara and Sarwan had their little session and the tension was out there, he said "It's been a phenomenal summer of cricket. What's sunk in is that we've won and you didn't really know that until Courtney Walsh got hit on the pads."
Hussain felt it was nice for his team to break the 31-year-old record and said "It makes me feel immensely proud, holding that trophy up in front of all those supporters. I'm proud of the team, they can be very proud of the 2000 season they have put in."
Hussain also revealed how Andy Caddick's influence turned the series by saying "When Andrew Caddick suddenly decided to get out of bed at Lord's and said `I'm going to bowl the West Indies out for 50' - that turned it around for us". He also said that when Caddick bowled them out for 54, they got a huge boost and since then they found a way to bowl the tourists out.
While his form has let him down, Hussain said that he just got to get the balance right between captaincy and batting. he said "In the last couple of months, I've thrown myself completely into thinking every minute about beating West Indies. I've thought about nothing else. Although I haven't shown it, I've been overly tense inwardly, and it rubs off on your batting. I found no fluency this summer."
Saying that the selection had been difficult and it was a gamble in not playing a spinner, Hussain said "Michael Atherton was phenomenal and Duncan Fletcher is easily the best coach I've been involved with. He has such a calming influence and knows how to say the right word at the right time - a good man-manager."
His counterpart Jimmy Adams admitted, "We've been too inconsistent. The scoreline reflects that England played consistently better cricket than we did for the majority of the summer. England were mentally tougher than we were." He also said that the technical problem was not batting but it was more mental.
Walsh, the top wicket taker for the series with 34 wickets and the West Indies' Man of the series, needs 17 more wickets to become the first bowler to reach 500 wickets. He is still considering his International future.