Gayle plans birthday party with win

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, CMC - The most feared batsman in the shortest form of cricket, Chris Gayle, wants to celebrate his 33rd birthday with victory when West Indies play Australia in their opening match of the ICC T20 World Cup tournament on Saturday.

The big hitting West Indies opener, who turns 33 on Friday, says an opening win is important in building confidence as the Caribbean side attempts to secure a place in the first round.

“The key for us is to get to the second round and try and take it step by step. My birthday is coming up tomorrow, but my mind is on Saturday when we face the Australians” said Gayle, a left-handed opener who has dominated all three formats of the game.

“The first game is vital. You don’t want to play catch-up cricket in T20, so it’s a very big match for us. It will also get our confidence going”.

The West Indies are preparing for their opening Group B contest against Australia at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. First ball on Saturday is 7:30 pm (10 am Eastern Caribbean Time/9 am Jamaica Time).

“No real big plans... I am going to spend it with the West Indies women’s team,” said Gayle jokingly in response to questions about celebrating his birthday. “I’ll be 33 so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m looking to celebrate with a win over Australia on Saturday night.”

Gayle entertained onlookers with some stunning stroke plays hoisting several balls out of the Colts Cricket Ground as training session continued Thursday.

The Windies arrived in Sri Lanka ten days ago after a nine-day camp at the Sagicor High Performance Centre in Barbados, and Gayle said everyone is eager to get going.

“In our team we bat right down and bowling-wise we have spinners and fast bowlers” said Gayle who has scored a West Indies record 20 centuries in One-Day Internationals.

His 117 against South Africa at the Wanderers in 2007 is the only century by a West Indian in the shortest format and he has hit a world-record 290 sixes in 110 T20 matches.

“The key is balance. You have to have good balance to be able to hit a lot of sixes “said Gayle as journalists queried his ability to hit sixes.

“I try and make sure and I pay special emphasis to my balance. You have to realise that bowlers aren’t always going to make it easy for you.”

Fri, 09/21/2012 - 02:11