Gayle lashes selectors
Big-hitting opener criticises omission of Bravo, Pollard from ICC World Cup
After being presented with his Man of the Match award for his whirlwind innings that propelled the West Indies to a world record T20 International cricket run-chase in a four-wicket win over South Africa yesterday, West Indies opener Chris Gayle launched an attack against selectors for omitting Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the World Cup squad.
Gayle top-scored for the West Indies with a stunning 90 off 41 balls which helped the Caribbean team to overhaul South Africa's 231 for seven and silence a capacity crowd, which had crammed into the Wanderers.
Gayle struck nine fours and seven sixes and put on a record 152 for the second wicket with Marlon Samuels, who stroked a classy 60 from a mere 39 balls, with seven fours and two sixes.
Their heroics outshone South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis, who unfurled a classic 119 off 56 balls, his maiden T20 hundred, to guide the hosts to the fourth-highest T20 International total, after they were sent in.
winning the series
"To be honest, I'm so glad we actually won the series. This morning I woke up and saw the World Cup squad and there was no (Kieron) Pollard and no (Dwayne) Bravo. It really hurts deeply inside, and that's the reason I actually wanted to win the series," said Gayle in an emotional response at the post-match ceremony.
Both Bravo and Pollard, with 255 ODI between them, were not included in the West Indies 15-man squad - which was announced late Saturday - for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand next month.
They were members of the ODI side that abandoned the tour of India in October 2014 over a contract dispute.
Bravo, who was captain at the time, also acted as the players' representative and was at the forefront of the battle with the WICB and players' union WIPA.
"We have the best team here, and to see those two guys excluded is sad for West Indies cricket," Gayle said. "If you really believe in our ability, those two guys should be in West Indies cricket, both in South Africa for the 50-over tournament and in the World Cup squad."
The West Indies will play against South Africa in a five-match limited-overs series following the T20 Internationals that end with the third and final match on Wednesday.
The West Indies hold an unassailable 2-0 lead following yesterday's memorable win.
In the meantime, the regional selectors have expressed confidence in their squad.
"I believe we have selected a very good team that will do West Indies proud at the World Cup. We have a good mixture of some good, seasoned players and some good youngsters who will fly the West Indies flag in Australia and New Zealand," chief selector Clive Lloyd said.
"If they play to their potential, I am quite sure we will do very well. I have really high hopes in this team. I believe they can do something special. We have the talent, and if we can play to our potential, we have a very good chance of lifting that trophy."
The Windies World Cup squad will be led by rookie seamer Jason Holder, who was also named as skipper for the five-match series against South Africa. Marlon Samuels has been appointed vice-captain.