Floyd Reifer, the West Indies captain, has said he "entirely disagrees" with the suggestion that his under-strength side has devalued the competition in the ICC Champions Trophy. West Indies sent a weakened squad to South Africa because of an ongoing contract dispute between the first-choice players - such as Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, and Dwayne Bravo - and the board.
The replacements were expected to be pushovers but have credited themselves with two fighting performances. Their bowlers gave Pakistan a scare in their opening game and they ran Australia close in the second as well, reducing them to 171 for 7 before Mitchell Johnson lifted them to 275. West Indies were in with a chance during the chase, having reached 170 for 3, before the batting collapsed and they fell 50 runs short.
"Against Pakistan if we had 40 more runs things could have been different and against Australia we were in the game into the 40th over. It's been a great effort," Reifer said. "The important thing for us is to know that we are improving. From the first game to this one we have gotten better, as a team and as individuals.
"As we play as a team, stick together and keep practising, improving our skills, we will get better. We are a new team to international cricket. We are not going to come in and dominate straight away. We must show improvement, though. We still have more time to prepare and improve our skills and our mental attitude. Getting to international standards is all about the mental attitude."
West Indies were the first team to be knocked out of the Champions Trophy after suffering two defeats but they have a game remaining against India on Wednesday. It will give their young players another opportunity to gain valuable experience in a major tournament.
"We try to encourage the guys to learn and learn fast," Reifer said. "This is international cricket and not like the domestic cricket we play back at home. We talk a lot. We talk through situations that are going to happen in the game and we ask the guys to improve, to talk cricket, to improve their all-round game - batting, bowling and fielding."