'It's been a terrific series' - Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, hailed his team's unbeaten bilateral tour of West Indies as "terrific" and said the side had bounced back superbly following defeat in the Super Eights in the World Twenty20. South Africa had completed a clean sweep of the Twenty20 and ODI series on the tour, and wrapped up the Tests 2-0 with a seven-wicket win in Barbados.
"It's been a terrific series for us," Smith said. "We can't hide away from the disappointment we experienced in the World Twenty20. We've asked each other to step it up, make sure that happens in every training session, and we performed to the best of our ability."
Smith also praised the duo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, who shared 29 wickets in the Test series, and said his role as captain included managing them efficiently. "They are an important part of the Test line-up, the firepower they bring and their wicket-taking ability is crucial for our success," he said. "As a captain it's about balancing, how much you really want to use them and getting the most out of it. Especially in this heat and these types of conditions, it's about ensuring each bowler is effective and that they're trying to achieve something. That's the goal for me as a captain."
Steyn was Man of the Series for his 15 wickets at 18.13, including six in the final Test. He said he received excellent support from Morkel and was handled well by Smith. "Morne's been fantastic. Over the last two series, especially against England, he really came out of his shell and bowled fantastically," Steyn said. "I'm just glad that there's another guy who's striking well.
"I've been on the road for five months now so I'm really looking forward to going home, but with the extra spinner Graeme Smith has rotated us well fantastically, keeping the fast bowlers fresh and brought us on when he needed to strike."
Chris Gayle, the West Indies captain, said his team had been let down by poor batting and injuries prior to the game. West Indies, who lost allrounder Darren Sammy and fast bowler Nelon Pascal ahead of the Test, were bowled out for 231 and 161 in conditions Gayle described as "perfect" for batting.
"We were on the back foot at the end of the first innings after being bowled out for 231," Gayle said. "Based on their [batsmen] performance in the last game, I thought they would play decently here but that did not happen. A few injuries here and there didn't help us either."
Gayle, however, hoped things would turn for the better with some younger players coming through and the return of seniors, like Ramnaresh Sarwan. "You've got the High Performance Centre here and hopefully some youngsters come out of that," Gayle said. "There have been a couple of niggling injuries and we hope we can have the senior guys back. But overall a disappointing series, and disappointing the way we went about it."
Gayle admitted captaincy in such circumstances was proving a difficult job. "It's tough as captain to be honest with you," he said. "Sometimes when you actually think you're getting the support of a particular person…but there comes a time when you're not actually going to get that kind of support. It's something I've got to deal with and clear the air, and I'll take it from there."