West Indies adapted well to the conditions - Howard
The West Indies cricketers might have returned from their four-month sojourn in Asia a wounded bunch, but they are the better for it. Tony Howard, the team manager, felt that despite a few physical injuries, the team had adapted well to the trying conditions and will be up to the task when the World Cup comes to the region next year.
West Indies reached the finals of two one-day tournaments - the DLF Cup tri-series in Malaysia and the Champions Trophy in India, losing to Australia in both. In Pakistan, they lost the Test series 2-0 and the five-match one-day series 3-1.
"If I was to give a grade, I would have to say six-and-half out of ten," Howard told Nationsports after the team returned from Pakistan via London. "We have to learn the lessons and we have to learn them quickly.
"We have to be thinking always, and we have to be more consistent if we want to be among the major teams in the World Cup. We reached two finals and we were not altogether bad in Pakistan. There was a time, not long ago, when we were not winning anything."
Howard said even though they were missing regular players like Ramnaresh Sarwan to injury and Dwayne Bravo - who returned home after the Tests in Pakistan - they should have risen to a higher level of performance. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was also handicapped with a leg injury during the ODIs.
"We missed their contributions to the overall team effort, and that is what we were looking for," Howard said. "We have some capable substitutes, but there was not enough experience to take us through."
Left-arm seamer Ian Bradshaw was a key member of the side in the DLF Cup and Champions Trophy, but said that the final leg in Pakistan was particularly challenging. He is listed at No.4 in the latest ICC one-day international rankings.
"It was quite difficult over there and unfortunately we didn't get the results we were looking for," said Bradshaw. "We simply didn't play to the level we were expecting, but we are not too disheartened.
"It was quite a long tour and we did make some positive strides in our one-day game, and hopefully coming into 2007 we will have to regroup in the build-up to the World Cup and improve in those weak areas we have identified."