Brian Lara: 531 runs against South Africa
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Wisden Cricinfo staff
The West Indies side returned to the Caribbean on Sunday in an upbeat mood despite defeats in both Test and one-day series in South Africa.
"We had many challenges even before we left the Caribbean going to Zimbabwe, Gus Logie, West Indies' coach, admitted. "We knew we weren't at the level of fitness that we wanted to be at and we made a commitment to ourselves that when we got to Zimbabwe, we would certainly try and get ourselves as fit as possible, both physically and mentally for the task ahead.
"Obviously when we got to Zimbabwe, we were challenged from the start. Zimbabwe did play some good cricket at home and we found that we had to up our training regime as much as possible, trying to get the players as fit as possible."
The planning came unstuck, however, as the side was hit with a wave of injuries at the start of the South African leg of the trip. Jerome Taylor, Marlon Samuels and Omari Banks all had to return home. And then Chris Gayle, Corey Collymore and Shivnarine Chanderpaul picked up niggles during the trip which kept them out of games. That "put us on the back foot," Logie explained.
He also admitted that in South Africa they had lost to the better side. "They do have a formidable team and we can't take that away from them," he said. "They played good, consistent cricket and they put us under pressure all the time."
But Logie was keen to highlight the plus points to have come out of the tour. "Among the the positives were Lara's 500-odd runs (531) in the Test series against South Africa; both Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan scoring two centuries in a series for the first time were also pluses. Dwayne Smith's hundred on debut, the fastest hundred by a debutant is also something special for us and Chanderpaul's hundred as well, so all in all, individually, we did quite well and we were quite pleased about that."