Gayle: Let's get this series started

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida, CMC – Talismanic West Indies opener Chris Gayle has stressed the importance of a winning start to the series against New Zealand this weekend.

The left-hander said it was crucial the Windies got an early win in the Twenty20 series in order to set the tone for the rest of the tour and also for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka starting in September.

“This is an important series. The people here have come out to support us and are making us feel very relaxed and at home. It is a chance to get some wins under our belt as we look forward to the T20 World Cup,” the 32-year-old said here Friday.

“We are looking for a good start in these two T20 games before we move on to Jamaica for the start of the One-Day Series.”

He continued: “The first game of any tour, of any series, is always important and hopefully come tomorrow we can get that kick-start that would be so vital no matter where in the world you are playing.

“We have a lot of supporters here and it is clear they are excited to see us come and play in America. It would be really nice to start with a win for them, for the people back home, and all our fans.”

West Indies face New Zealand in the first T20 on Saturday at 3 pm before returning to the Broward County Regional Stadium on Sunday for the second match at 2 pm.

The fixtures represent the first time matches in a West Indies bi-lateral series will be played outside the Caribbean and Gayle said he shared the excitement of the moment.

“The conditions here are great ... it’s warm, but we are all natural West Indians and we can handle the heat,” the Jamaican noted. “The guys have been training really hard and we are confident of doing well. It is good to be back among this great group and I’m enjoying it.”

Gayle returned to the West Indies side for the limited overs series against England following 14 months on the sidelines and made an instant impact on return, smashing a half-century against England in the second One-Day International and said he felt in great form.

“I have been hitting the ball well. I had a half century in England and since I have come over to America I am enjoying it. When the time comes around tomorrow, I will just look to go about the business as I usually do – that is try to get a start and push on from there,” he said.

“This is a new venue. Most of us have never played here before, so you have to be sensible in your approach and give yourself every opportunity to be successful.

“It is always good to have confidence and part of that confidence comes from your preparations, so we have to prepare mentally as well as physically to take advantage of any situation.”

WEST INDIES – Darren Sammy (captain), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith
NEW ZEALAND – Ross Taylor (captain), Martin Guptill, Rob Nicol, Daniel Flynn, Kane Williamson, Dean Brownlie, BJ Watling, Tom Latham, Jacob Oram, Andrew Ellis, Doug Bracewell, Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Ronnie Hira

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 02:53