Home boy Gayle ready for Sabina return
Kingston, Jamaica — Opening batsman Chris Gayle is promising the people of Jamaica something special when he goes out to bat for West Indies against New Zealand at Sabina Park on Thursday.
The powerful left-hander urged his countrymen to come out in their numbers and support the Windies as they face the Black Caps in the opening encounter of the five-match Digicel One-Day Series.
“It’s been a while ... It’s great to be back in my home town and representing the West Indies. Hopefully I will give the crowd something to cheer about. We had a good run during the T20 matches in Florida last weekend and that gave us the momentum to move forward,” Gayle said.
“The start to this series is very important. From a personal point of view, I want to do well in my home town. I will just look at it as another game. I will look to give the team a good start, look to see what the bowlers are doing, and once I get set look to capitalise and make it count.”
Gayle was speaking after he and team-mates had a full training session on Wednesday morning at Sabina Park. The 32-year-old has an impressive record of 8,140 runs at an average of 39.13 and strike rate of 84 in One-Day cricket. He has made a West Indies record 19 centuries in this format.
The Windies Number 45 was meticulous as he prepared for what will be his 230th One-Day International. He had a close look at the surface mapped out for Thursday’s match and engaged the ground staff in discussions.
“The pitch looks good....should be a very good track for batting. I believe there could be some assistance for the fast bowlers early on as well and at some stage you could expect the spinners to come into play. I have played here many times and I’m accustomed to the conditions so we know what to expect,” Gayle said.
Gayle is presently in good batting form. He cracked two high-quality half-centuries during the back-to-back Digicel T20 Series last weekend in south Florida. He was awarded the Man-of-the-Series award as the West Indies won both matches.
“The last time I walked off Sabina Park I was raising my bat after I got 165 for Jamaica against Windward Islands. That people of Jamaica have not had cricket at Sabina for a while so it is good to have cricket come back to Jamaica. I would love to get a hundred here and raise my bat again,” Gayle said.
First ball in the first Digicel ODI 9.30 am (10.30 am Eastern Caribbean Time).
FULL SQUAD: Darren Sammy (Captain), Dwayne Bravo (Vice Captain), Tino Best, Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin (Wiket-keeper), Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith