Dejected Gayle laments lack of consistency
A packed house at the Beausejour Stadium deserved better than the dismal performance served up by West Indies and Chris Gayle apologised to the fans after the hosts were knocked out of the World Twenty20 with a six-wicket defeat by Australia.
The supporters kept singing until the final run was scored - somewhat fittingly it came when Gayle fired a bouncer over the wicketkeeper's head - but their spirits had taken an early blow when the captain was bowled by Dirk Nannes in the first over. So much rides on Gayle's performances in this team that it was always hard to see how they would fight back, but the nature of the subsequent collapse was depressing.
"There are no excuses and I apologise to the fans for our display in this World Cup but we have to hold our heads high," Gayle said. "The turnout has been brilliant and I must commend them on that, it's just unfortunate that we didn't carry on to the semis. The support was very good and I must say thanks to all the fans.
"We have worked really hard and hopefully in the series coming up [against South Africa] we can give you something to smile about. We worked really hard. We wanted it badly. The commitment is always there, even today in the outfield with the players diving around."
As the batting fell apart against Mitchell Johnson and Steven Smith, Gayle watched forlornly from the dugout with an air of a man who had seen it all before. During the tournament he has pleaded for help from his team-mates for some batting support but yet again no-one delivered
"It's severe pressure and a lot is on my shoulders. I was hoping to get someone to take some of that pressure in the batting department but it didn't happen," he said. "I tried my best, I'm not saying everyone else didn't, but sometimes I try too hard and get myself in a bit of trouble rather than letting it come naturally."
When asked about what quality was missing from the side to make them regularly competitive against the best Gayle had a simple answer. "Consistency, that's the only word I can use right now," he said. "We are on and off, sometimes we turn up and are unbeatable and no team can play us but it doesn't come often. In our batting it can't be just me getting runs, others have to take responsibility.
"There are no problems in the camp, the spirit has been fine but on the field we have been inconsistent. We are trying everything to get that right but it didn't work today."
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo