Thu | Sep 23, 2021

Pybus: Gayle has made his case for World Cup

Published:Wednesday | February 27, 2019 | 12:00 AM
West Indies’ Chris Gayle celebrates after scoring a century against England during the first One-Day International cricket match at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, last Wednesday.

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC):

Interim West Indies coach, Richard Pybus, believes veteran opener Chris Gayle has made a “resounding case” for his inclusion in the World Cup squad later this year.

Gayle emphatically announced his return to the Caribbean side following a seven-month break, ­slamming his 24th one-day hundred in the opening match of the ongoing five-match series against England.

Pundits, however, have questioned Gayle’s commitment and fitness, but Pybus said the 39-year-old would be an enormous asset to the Windies side for the May 30 to July 14 showpiece in England.

“I can’t speak on behalf of the selectors, but I think Chris has put forward a very resounding case,” Pybus told reporters here Monday ­following the rained-out third One-Day International (ODI).

“He’s just class, really. It’s always great ­having guys in your side who are quite scary for the opposition, knowing full well what they can deliver. He’s been fantastic, and he’s been great with the younger lads.”

The left-handed Gayle is by far the most ­experienced player in the current Windies set-up, having played 287 ODIs, and lies just 88 runs short of becoming only the second West Indian to crest the 10,000-run mark behind the iconic Brian Lara.

His 24 centuries are also a Windies record, and his subtle off spin has already earned him 165 wickets.

Critics of his game point to his aversion to running singles and slow starts in the first power play, now two crucial elements of the one-day game.

However, as he showed in his 135 off 129 balls when he lashed a dozen sixes, no one in the contemporary game finds six-hitting easier.

Pybus said he was not worried by Gayle’s approach as the Jamaican possessed the ability to easily adapt his game.

“Chris can play both [types of] games. In those first two games [in Barbados], I think he was really getting a feel for quite a spongy wicket batting first,” the Englishman explained.

“Those who know Barbados, it can be a game of two halves, really. That early session can be quite different to the match later on, so I think he was playing himself through. You guys know from T20s, Chris can attack that first power play brutally.

“I think [it was] him just getting back into the squad. I think on good wickets, he’ll be going hard pretty early.”