England v West Indies, 2nd npower Test, Chester-le-Street, 5th day May 18, 2009

Gayle backtracks on captaincy comments

This series hasn't been Chris Gayle's finest hour. He turned up 48 hours before the first Test, spent a lot of time complaining about the cold and, to cap it all, said he wouldn't mind if Test cricket didn't exist. So, in many respects, he got what he deserved as the Wisden Trophy was surrendered back to England after little more than two months.

Ever since his now infamous newspaper interview, Gayle has tried to tone down his comments without ever sounding convincing. His latest attempt came with a smile, but that was probably because he can now play one-day cricket for six weeks.

"I'm definitely enjoying the captaincy," he said. "It has done a lot for me as an individual and I can't be ungrateful and say it hasn't. I appreciate it and am happy to lead the West Indies whenever and wherever. We have a good bunch of guys here and it's a learning process for them. For me I'm still enjoying the cricket and if I'm not it wouldn't make sense to carry on."

What made Gayle's comments about Test cricket even more disappointing was that he'd put so much effort into securing the series in the Caribbean. He scored two impressive hundreds, bowled and batted with an injured hamstring, and instilled a determination not seen from a West Indies side for a long time. However, like the economy, it is dangerous to talk about green shoots of recovery when it comes to West Indies cricket.

"It's a disappointing result," he said. "We have ourselves to blame to be honest, it all started from that first Test where we dropped too many catches when we had England on the run. To play catch-up cricket in these conditions was always going to be difficult. But we were here to do a job and we didn't do it properly.

"I'm disappointed to hand back the trophy after a short period of time. This tour wasn't in place then it came on board so it was something we had to deal with and it we didn't go about it properly. We struggled in the conditions and it would have been nice to have bat and ball clicking at the same time which didn't happen."

An away series during the English early season was always going to present a huge challenge for West Indies but, showing that he had one captaincy skill well honed, Gayle tried to look for the positives and hoped his young players would benefit.

"This was a chance for us to come and improve our overseas cricket which didn't happen, but we should use this as a big experience for us. I learned a lot and I'm sure the other guys gained a lot," he said. "It's all new for them and it's an opportunity for them to be part of this team. It's never going to be easy for them, but it's good they get a taste of Test cricket and hopefully they can become better."

At least Gayle can now look forward to plenty of one-day cricket, and West Indies shouldn't be underestimated in the shorter formats even though England recently won 3-2 in the Caribbean. When West Indies toured in 2007 they lost the Test series 3-0 before bouncing back to share the Twenty20s 1-1 and take the one-dayers 2-1.

"We have to put this series behind us and look forward to the ODIs," Gayle said. "We have the guys to do the job. We are representing West Indies so have to give our best." It certainly can't go much worse than the last two weeks.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo