'We are missing Gayle' - Sarwan
Ramnaresh Sarwan has admitted that West Indies are missing Chris Gayle but said the players knew they couldn't do anything about the situation. Gayle was not chosen in the squad for the opening one-day internationals against India due to an ongoing disagreement with the WICB, and in his absence West Indies struggled to 214 for 9 in the first ODI.
"You are putting me in the spot," Sarwan said with a smile after the loss in Trinidad. "Yes, we are missing him to be honest. It's very difficult to replace someone like Chris at the top. He is the most feared batsmen in world cricket when it comes to ODI or T20. The selectors have made a decision and we need to work with what we have."
Sarwan also said that he wasn't at his fluent best yet but that he remained confident of a turnaround. He made 56 off 94 balls after Darren Sammy won the toss and chose to bat, and West Indies' total wasn't enough to hold off India.
"I haven't had the best run since the World Cup," Sarwan said. "I am not still fluent. Few things are wrong; I am working hard at it with Desmond Haynes. For me it's the matter of rotating the strike. I don't think I am as fluent as I used to be. My strike rate has been a little awkward . This innings will give me some confidence and hopefully I can kick on from here."
West Indies' struggles with spin were accentuated in the series against Pakistan and the problem has continued against India, with Harbhajan Singh taking three wickets in the opening ODI, while Suresh Raina collected two and Amit Mishra bowled tightly. Sarwan said the team was working hard to rectify the situation.
"It's a matter of adjusting to the conditions and to the quality of the bowlers we have been playing against," he said. "It's not frustration. It's bit disappointing for us. Most of us have got starts since the World Cup and it's a matter of improving on those. We have tried to help each other. It's just a process and hopefully couple of young guys will pull through."
West Indies have lost the opening Twenty20 game and the first ODI but Sarwan was confident of a change of fortunes in the rest of the series. "The spirit is still pretty high. Don't forget we did well against Pakistan. We won the last two ODIs and the first Test. We haven't got the start we wanted this series but there are four games to go. We have had some positives: Marlon Samuels hasn't played for a while and it was good to see him get a good score today. Bishoo has consistently bowled well and Anthony Martin did well today. Dwayne Bravo is a sort of individual who never lacks confidence. Before this series ends he will come back with a good knock."
There has been lot of criticism of West Indies lately, especially in the way their batsmen have struggled to score against spin, and Sarwan sees it as an obvious fall-out of the team not doing well. "When you are not winning, everything becomes an issue with media and public. It's bound to happen. Yes, the spinners have been giving us trouble in the middle overs; we need to bat well and get more consistent. We haven't had the best of runs in the last 15-20 years. It's the matter of us getting everything together. We need to be consistent with batting and bowling. Consistency has been lacking."
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo