Andrew Harris, Gleaner Writer
West Indies batsman Chris Gayle is elated to be back home and hopes to put on a show for local supporters.
After being out of the team for more than a year Gayle, who played in Florida against the Black Caps in the first Twenty20 international on Saturday - where he was awarded the Man of the Match - is looking forward to give a good performance in front of his home crowd today when the West Indies play New Zealand in the first of five matches in the Digicel one-day international series at Sabina Park, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
"It's good to be back in my hometown and I'm hoping I can give the home crowd something to cheer about," said Gayle.
Regardless of the added pressure of meeting supporter expectations, Gayle says it's a means to perform better, while sticking to the Windies team's game plan.
"It's good to have the home pressure on you rather than being relaxed and get complacent and then things don't go your way, so we just hope to stick to the game plan," said Gayle.
In terms of the pitch and how it will impact their performance, Gayle is rather optimistic.
"The pitch looks pretty good and it's very hard, and both the batters and the spinners are accustomed to these conditions, so we know what to expect and we are looking forward to it."
The stronger team
Even though New Zealand are in a rebuilding process and West Indies are seen as the stronger team, the big Jamaican left-hander says they won't be taking the visitors for granted, but rather play them as if they were playing the number one team.
"We are the stronger team, but we have to play them hard like the number one team and not take them for granted," said Gayle.
While doing that, Gayle hopes to lift supporter expectations by raising his bat to hit a hundred runs.
"We want to give the fans something to cheer about and as I'm a homeboy, hopefully, I can get a hundred there and raise the bat again."