Gayle glad to end summer of agony
Chris Gayle failed to hide his delight at having the last laugh over England after West Indies eliminated the hosts yesterday with a five-wicket victory to reach the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup.
West Indies lost seven times on the trot to England in matches dating back to the fourth of five One-day Internationals at Bridgetown in March and Gayle was glad to have the final bragging rights and condemned Paul Collingwood's side to failure in another global limited-overs competition.
"It is very satisfying, since they have gotten the better of us, and it is good to have the final say in such a crucial match," said the West Indies captain after their final Super Eight match at The Oval.
"Both teams were looking to reach the semifinals, but we are happy because we have worked hard for this and we give thanks for this."
West Indies lost the last two ODIs against England in the Caribbean, followed by two Tests and two of three ODIs in England, and their warm-up match against the same opponents prior to the World Twenty20.
"This is not about me turning around the team," said Gayle. "We seem to have been able in recent times to adapt to the shorter versions of the game better, and this is why we struggle in the longer format.
"This is something into which we need to look seriously and give a bit more in the longer version of the game."
He added: "All in all, we have been able to put together better ODI and Twenty20 teams, but we never try to take anything for granted because it is difficult to play catch-up cricket in this form of the game.
"We look to play each match strong and hard, since there is no room for error in this format of the game. We need to have self-belief and believe we can get the job done.
"Many teams fear us in this format. We were written off prior to the competition and to reach the semi-finals, I look at each and every one of our players as winners having reached this far."
Gayle is looking to forward to the semi-finals and hopes he can conquer whoever will be West Indies' opponents, so that they can continue to rebuild the tarnished image of the side.
"I feel we should get more respect," he said. "We have been dominant in the past, but we have been going though a lean period with our cricket and several things have happened on and off the field that have taken a toll.
"Some people have begun to take us for granted and this why we have to start winning. Once people begin to show us respect, we will give it back, and when they cross the line, we will cross the line too."
Gayle admitted his side appeared to love playing at The Oval in south London, where there is a huge base of West Indian fans, and conditions have tended generally to favour the Caribbean side over the years.
"I never mentioned it to anyone before the game, but it was on my mind," said Gayle, who has memories of the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy Final against the same opponents which West Indies won.
"We would love our semi-final match to be played here!"
Gayle will get his wish, since Friday's semi-final-likely to be against Sri Lanka-is scheduled to take place at the famous ground.