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Windies put World Cup behind them


The first Test of the English summer got underway yesterday, and while both sides might wish to pretend that getting straight back into the fray is the best way to get over their disappointing winter campaigns, it’s a safe bet that the West Indians would have preferred to wait until the weather was a little more clement.{{more}}

“We would have liked more practice going into the first game but rain played a part, and there’s nothing we can do about that,” said Chris Gayle, the kingpin of a batting line-up that now has a legend-shaped hole right in the middle of it.

With drizzle a permanent fixture over St John’s Wood, both teams were forced to take refuge in the MCC’s indoor school, where West Indies went through the motions off shortened run-ups, from the rafters by a certain MP Vaughan, whose broken finger has postponed his return to the fray .

Not only have West Indies been short of time in the middle, they can expect to be hounded by two fit and focussed bowlers who have been away from the international scene since the end of the Ashes tour in December and January.

The new regime has not had to resort to quite such drastic measures, although they have instead introduced an 11.30 pm curfew for all squad members.

However Gayle is not best impressed.

“I would not be with [it], but it’s a team rule, a team policy and we have to go along with it. If it was in my hands I’d have had guys more free to do what they want to do in the lead-up to the first Test match.”

“Everyone needs to improve their work ethic in this team, and they are trying hard to do that,” said Moore. “I think there’s a level we’ve been used to, and we are eighth in the world—so we’ve got to do something better to get higher in the world. Increasing our intensity and work through all our games is something we are going to have to do.”