English seam on Sammy's mind
West Indies captain Darren Sammy has insisted his team can go on to success in England after again surrendering the Frank Worrell Trophy to Australia, a trophy the hosts have not held since 1995. Questioned at some length following the series about how his side's batting had continually folded - the tireless Shivnarine Chanderpaul aside - Sammy said the team's sense of belief had to remain strong and steadfast ahead of a three-Test date with arguably the world's most accomplished seam and swing bowlers.
"Different conditions, some of the guys are playing there for the first time," Sammy said after making his highest Test score on the final day of a 75-run loss to Australia in Dominica. "We've still got to learn and believe that whatever comes our way that we can overcome it. It's going to be another tough series for us but like we fought against Australia we're expecting to do the same against England. Keep showing that attitude and hopefully we can get victories in England.
"At the end of the day, its up to each individual to go out and do what is necessary for the team and to try to perform and score runs. No one wants to go out and fail - it's about getting your mind right and going out and executing properly. We talk, we develop a plan, a formula to go out and play with, most times we don't execute properly.
"The top six is where we should get the bulk of the runs. Shiv batted really well for us again but we didn't have consistent contributions from everyone there. We have youngsters at the top and like Shiv has said, they're learning their skill at the international level. I back the guys to go out and play up against a higher-ranked team with lots of experience. Our guys are young and the selectors have decided to give them a run, an opportunity to develop and hopefully they can do that for us in the future."
One member of the top six at Windsor Park who will not be going on to England is Kraigg Brathwaite, the teenaged opening batsman omitted after scores of 0, 0, 0 and 11 in his final four innings of the series. Sammy said Brathwaite had not been forgotten, and would figure in the team again in the future. However he admitted the selectors had become concerned by his propensity to be out early to the new ball. Sammy also said the leg spinner Devendra Bishoo's absence from the touring party did not mean the end of his time in Test cricket.
"The selectors and coach spoke to him yesterday," Sammy said. "Obviously he didn't have the best series this time. He's definitely one for the future for us. He's out of form and in England where the ball tends to swing a bit more - this series he was getting out to the swinging ball a lot. We have a few A-team tours coming and the coach has told him he'll be there to get some form.
"We also have the high performance centre where he can go and work with the coach over there. Just like we said to Bishoo. Bishoo had an excellent year for us last year and he was not part of the Test squad but I expect them to come back. They're both strong mentally and they'll go and do what's necessary to force their way back into the team."
In contrast to the batting, West Indies have developed a bowling attack that stands some chance of snipping the top off England's batting on potentially helpful early season pitches, starting with the first Test at Lord's from May 17. Sammy reserved particular praise for Kemar Roach, who with 19 wickets vied with Chanderpaul for man of the series honours.
"Last year he had a tough year in Bangladesh, he broke down in tears but this year he has come back really, really strong," Sammy said. "People might say well he bowled more overs than me, but he keeps asking me for the ball and that is the sort of attitude I really like to see. When I thought he was tired, he said 'No, I really want the ball' putting his hand up. His wickets show the hard work throughout this series."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here