Port of Spain: After their four-wicket loss to India in the first One-Day International on Monday, West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan admitted that the team is missing explosive opener Chris Gayle.
Gayle, who was the highest-run getter in the recently concluded Indian Premier League, was overlooked by the selectors pending a dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
"You are putting me in the spot," said Sarwan when asked about Gayle.
"Yes, we are missing him (Gayle), to be honest. It is very difficult to replace someone like Chris at the top. He is the most feared batsmen in world cricket when it comes to the limited overs format. The selectors have made a decision and we need to work with what we have."
Though Sarwan made 56 runs off 94 balls in West Indies' 214 for nine, he wasn't at his best on a slow wicket.
"I haven't had the best run since the World Cup. I am not still fluent and few things need to be corrected. I am working hard at it with Desmond Haynes (batting consultant). For me it is the matter of rotating the strike. I don't think I am as fluent as I used to be. My strike rate has been a little awkward. This innings will give me some confidence and I hope to kick on from here."
The West Indies lost the one-off Twenty20 against India and now trail in the ODI series. Sarwan, however, maintained that the morale of the team is high after their decent show against Pakistan.
"The spirit is still pretty high. Don't forget we did well against Pakistan. We won the last two ODIs and the first Test. We haven't got the start we wanted in this series but there are four games to go. We have had some positives. Marlon Samuels hasn't played for a while and it was good to see him get a good score today. Bishoo has consistently bowled well and Anthony Martin did well too. Dwayne Bravo is a sort of individual who never lacks confidence. Before this series ends, he will come back with a good knock."