Gayle questions batsmen's mindset
Chris Gayle, the West Indies captain, has questioned the batsmen's mindset following his team's one-run defeat in the second Twenty20 international against South Africa in Antigua. Gayle said they "have to look into themselves and try and redeem themselves as quickly as possible" after losing the series 2-0.
"It is a pressure situation," Gayle said. "The mindset is just not right. They're maybe a bit too worried about the position."
South Africa finished with a modest 120 for 7 but West Indies struggled from the start, losing Gayle for a duck, and the rest of the batsmen never quite got going. With 15 needed from the final over, Darren Sammy managed two boundaries, including an all-run four thanks to some loose fielding, but Ryan McLaren held his nerve to leave West Indies a run short.
"It's blatant," Gayle said. "It's not right. We need to have discussions on it. The guys need to free up and go out there with a free mind to play some good cricket. We should have won that game...no doubt about it. To chase 120 runs, I don't see why we shouldn't get it, but we didn't get it."
It was the second straight game in which the West Indies batsmen failed to perform. On Wednesday, they lost by 13 runs chasing 137 to win.
"It's very disappointing but credit must go to the bowlers. I thought they bowled well on an on-and-off pitch," Gayle said. "In the end we allowed the run-rate to climb up a bit too much. We should have tried to take a few more chances."
He denied experience was the problem, saying, "We have quite a few experienced guys in the team, guys who have been in big situations before. Experience is not a problem."
The problem, according to him, lay with individual players, who need to start taking responsibility for their performances. "It's up to the individual. They have to look into themselves and try and redeem themselves as quickly as possible. I can't do it for them. I have a lot to think about as well. It is up to the individuals to try and get over these situations as quickly as possible."
In contrast, South Africa's captain Graeme Smith was full of praise for his team's ability to keep calm in the clutch, although he couldn't resist a wry comment on the team's history of coming up short in high pressure situations.
"It was a bit tense at the end so we had to find somebody to remain calm, and Ryan kept a good sensible head, although we had a few guys running all over the place. It was an exciting finish, and nice again to get over the line," he said. "We have performed well enough in tense situations like this before, although our record in such situations in competition play is quite poor, but we have performed really well again under pressure in a game that we probably shouldn't have won, so it's to our credit, and the confidence is definitely growing."