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Gayle doubtful for crucial clash

Published:Tuesday | January 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM

PERTH, Australia (CMC):

Western Australia were left sweating on the fitness of West Indies captain Chris Gayle ahead of their must-win clash with New South Wales Blues, after the Jamaican superstar was forced to abort training yesterday because of a sore side.

After losing their first two matches in the Twenty20 Big Bash, the hosts find themselves in a must-win situation in today's game. But Gayle's participation appeared in doubt after he trained for just 25 minutes.

The explosive left-handed opener sustained a side strain in Western Australia's loss to South Australia last week Tuesday and though it was diagnosed as not being serious, Gayle found himself unable to bat freely in the nets yesterday.

"It feels a bit better to be honest with you, but at the same time there's still discomfort," Gayle said before his net session.

"(It's) still sore. If I sneeze I can actually feel the pain. If I laugh, then I can actually feel the pain, so there's a bit of tension in the air as well."

Gayle initially batted against a bowling machine without difficulty but once in the nets against actual bowlers, he survived just five minutes before leaving with the physio.

Rested for the New Year's Day 17-run defeat to Tasmania, Gayle said he was really anxious to suit up to face the Blues.

"I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. I missed the last game, so I was very disappointed to sit there on the bench and I can't do anything," the 30-year-old said.

"But at the same time, it's part of the game, so hopefully tomorrow I'll be ready and we can take it from there."

Staying fit

Gayle said while he was keen on playing, he was also cognisant of the need to stay fit for the West Indies' upcoming fixtures, which includes a five-match One-Day International series against Australia here next month.

"You do want to actually fulfil the contract and my obligation to WA, but you know there's West Indies cricket to play as well," Gayle pointed out.

"So you don't want to do too much damage as a player. We don't want to risk it, but we'll see what happens tomorrow and we'll take it from there."