Chester-Le-Street:West Indies captain Chris Gayle admitted the volume of international cricket his side were being asked to play was starting to get to him following their Test series humbling by England.
The West Indies were thrashed by an innings and 83 runs at the Riverside here yesterday in the second of this two-match series after England took the opener at Lord's by 10 wickets.
However, the West Indies were only found themselves playing in the early part of an English season after Sri Lanka, England's scheduled opponents, pulled out because of their players Indian Premier League (IPL) commitments.
Gayle, much criticised for arriving from the lucrative Twenty20 IPL tournament in South Africa just two days before the Lord's Test, found himself embroiled in fresh controversy when he suggested he would not have a problem if the five-day format died out.
England's Test and one-day tour of the Caribbean only ended in April and the West Indies now have little time to rest before a three-match one-day series in England starts at Headingley on Thursday.
Then comes June's World Twenty20 in England before they return home for four one-dayers against India and a series in the Caribbean against Bangladesh.
And they are then off on their travels again for the Champions Trophy in South Africa before a tour of Australia. "It has been a lot of cricket," opening batsman Gayle told reporters.
"It boils down to the mental side of things, not the physical - and it has been non-stop for us, and is jam-packed for the rest of the year as well.
"You have to look after yourself, and the mental part is key.
"There's no two ways about it. At some stage you will find you lapse a bit, and you have to be aware of that." However, Gayle said fixture congestion was not the reason why his side lost the Test series so emphatically after defeating England 1-0 in a five-match campaign in the Caribbean.
"It's been a disappointing result in both matches, and for part of it we do feel we have ourselves to blame," said Gayle.
"It all started from that first Test match when we dropped too many catches (six in all) when we could have had England on the run. Then to play catch-up cricket in these conditions is always a little bit difficult.
"We're here to do our job - and we didn't go about it properly. They (England) played good cricket and used the conditions well; we didn't make that necessary adjustment."
But Gayle said the experience of playing in early season English conditions, where the ball can nip off the pitch, would ultimately benefit his largely youthful side.
"I've learned a lot from it, though, and I'm sure the all the guys have gained experience from this as well.
"No one ever said it was going to be easy for those young players, but it is good for them to have got a taste of Test cricket."
England won their one-day series in the Caribbean 3-2, having been gifted victory in Guyana when West Indies coach John Dyson, the former Australia batsman, misinterpreted the Duckworth-Lewis rule for rain-affected matches.
West Indies though remain a handy one-day side and Gayle, whose second innings 54 at the Riverside off 43 would not have looked out of place in a limited overs match, said: "We still have three ODI games to look forward to - and we hope we can win that series.
"It will be a tough task, but we will just have to regroup again."
Meanwhile Gayle said he was still happy to carry on as West Indies captain despite his indifference towards Tests. "I'm definitely enjoying the captaincy," he said.
"It's done a lot for me as an individual, and I am grateful for that. I'm happy to lead the West Indies team -whenever, wherever."