Windies hope to succeed

Chris Gayle's West Indian touring team will attempt to succeed where their predecessors have failed when they take on South Africa over the next seven-and-a-half weeks.

Chris Gayle's West Indian touring team will attempt to succeed where their predecessors have failed when they take on South Africa over the next seven-and-a-half weeks.

The odds appear to be stacked against the West Indies - but Gayle has the consolation of knowing that he can hardly do worse than previous sides from the Caribbean that have visited South Africa.

In 1998/99 the West Indies lost all five Tests and were beaten 6-1 in a one-day series, despite having stars such captain Brian Lara, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose in their side.

Five seasons later Lara was again in charge but his team were beaten 3-0 in the Tests, with one drawn, and went down 3-1 in the one-day series.

Gayle promised when his team arrived in South Africa on Monday that the hosts would be "in for a fight" despite the West Indies appearing to be weaker than previously. No successors have yet emerged to emulate Walsh and Ambrose as a new-ball pairing while Lara has retired and fellow batting star Ramnaresh Sarwan, who was named as Lara's successor as captain, is out of the tour with a knee injury.

Gayle himself will miss the opening matches of the tour - a limited overs match against a Makhaya Ntini Invitation XI in East London tomorrow and a Twenty20 international in Port Elizabeth on Sunday - because of a hamstring injury.

He hopes to be fit for the first Test starting in Port Elizabeth on December 26. - Sapa-AFP

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