Dwayne Bravo, West Indies' stand-in captain, has blamed injuries to key players for the team's disappointing showing on the tour of South Africa recently. West Indies conceded the three-Test series 2-1 after winning the first in Port Elizabeth, squared the Twenty20 internationals 1-1 and lost all five one-dayers.
West Indies missed the services of regular captain Chris Gayle after he suffered a broken thumb during the second Test in Cape Town and was sent home after the first one-dayer. Bravo himself had injury worries after picking up a side strain during the Test series while Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor also suffered setbacks.
"We were unfortunate in that there were injuries to many of our key players and this really hampered us down there," Bravo told CMC. "We have no control of this, so we just had to do what we could have in the situation. I think the players who competed there did well and one must recognise this."
Bravo, who was the given the vice-captaincy despite his inexperience as a captain with his native Trinidad, appreciated the constant support and advice from his team-mates.
"I thought that I did well with the captaincy," he said. "What was really pleasing to me was the fact that the senior players all supported me during the tour. Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin came to me over and over with advice and this was really good."
West Indies' next assignment is a short home series against Sri Lanka in March-April, which includes three one-dayers and two Tests, followed by Australia's visit. The Australians play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 international, and Bravo was confident the players would be well-prepared for those challenges.
"Currently there is a lot of cricket being played in the West Indies and the players have no excuses, as far as not having ideal preparations is concerned. Sri Lanka and Australia are obviously up there at the top of the rankings but once we play to our potential, we can give them a real fight."