SYDNEY (Reuters) – Skipper Kraigg Brathwaite credited injured pride for West Indies’ extraordinary upset of Australia in Brisbane on Sunday and said the Caribbean islanders needed more test cricket if they were to continue their revival.
West Indies were once the most feared team in the test game but expectations have lowered over years of decline, and Brathwaite’s touring squad were given little chance of success when they arrived in Australia to play the World Test Championship winners.
Those expectations were lowered still after a 10-wicket mauling in the first test in Adelaide but, spearheaded by young quick Shamar Joseph, they staged a remarkable turnaround to beat their hosts by eight runs in a Gabba thriller on Sunday.
Brathwaite said comments by former Australian pace bowler Rodney Hogg had cut particularly deep.
“Rodney Hogg said we were pathetic and hopeless, so that was our motivation. I want to ask him: ‘Are these muscles big enough for you?'” he retorted in the post-match ceremony on Sunday.
“We wanted to let him know that we heard him,” Brathwaite added in his news conference. “We planned well as a group, but we saw his words and that was extra motivation for us as well.
“Test match cricket is never easy … when you have a guy disrespecting West Indies, and us players that are playing, it is hurtful.”
It was a first test win for West Indies over the men in the baggy green caps since 2003 and the first in Australia since 1997.
Brathwaite said it was essential that West Indies had more opportunities to play the longest format of the game if they were to build on the Brisbane triumph.
“I do believe we should be playing more test cricket more consistently,” Brathwaite said.
“That’s my cry. I always believe the more you play, especially when it’s (matches) close together, you learn as batsmen and bowlers.
“So this is a message for whoever it may be that we need more test cricket.”
Perhaps the best news for Brathwaite was that young quick Joseph, who played through the pain to take a match-winning 7-68 at the Gabba and was named Man of the Series after his first two tests, was committed to the format.
“It’s my dream to play test cricket for West Indies,” he told reporters.
“There will be times when T20s might come around (but) I will always be available to play test cricket for West Indies, no matter how much money comes towards me.
“I will always be here to play test cricket.”
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)