West Indies captain Kieron Pollard insists the team is backing talismanic batsman Chris Gayle to do well at the T20 World Cup despite not heading into the event in the best of form.

Heading into the tournament, the swashbuckling left-hander is 97 runs away from scoring the most runs in T20 World Cup history.  Based on the player's most recent run of form, however, there is no guarantee of him getting there.  In the 16 games, the player has only managed 227 runs at an average of 17.46.

In addition, the 42-year-old has faced criticism from a vocal section of the West Indian cricket fanbase who are adamant that he should have stepped aside for younger talent.  Gayle was recently involved in a war of words with bowling legend Sir Curtly Ambrose, who suggested that while the player was still capable of lighting up bowling attacks on his day, he was not at the same level as he was a few years ago.  For Pollard, however, the batsman has been and continues to be a very valuable asset to the team.

“Again, no words to describe what he has done for us in World Cups, in the T20 World Cups, and T20 cricket around the world as an individual," Pollard said during an interview with team captains' on Saturday in Dubai.

"For him, 97 runs away, but I don't think he will be looking at that. I think the main goal for us and him, is trying to win a World Cup and defend the title. He is looking forward to that. Hopefully, he can come and deliver for us. We back him to do well," he added.

 

The Master Blaster, Sir Vivian Richards is siding with Sir Curtly Ambrose in the latter’s public spat with the Universe Boss Chris Gayle.

West Indies T20 vice-captain Nicholas Pooran has heaped praises on under pressure batsman Chris Gayle, insisting the veteran remains a valuable part of the team ahead of its attempted World Cup title defence.

The 42-year-old Gayle has found himself in the crosshairs of critics in recent months, with many insisting the player should have been overlooked in favour of younger talent.  The batsman'ss recent form will not have helped matters.  In the last year, Gayle has played a total of 16 matches, scored a total of 227 runs with an average of 17.46 and strike rate of 117.61, well down from his career average of 139.18.

Criticism of the batsman recently came to a head when he took exception to comments made by former fast bowler Curtly Ambrose who suggested that Gayle was not the same player he used to be.  Pooran is, however, certain of the value the player brings to the team.

“As much as everyone has questioned it, 14,000 runs doesn’t come about just like that.  Not many people know how to win T20 matches and T20 leagues and that sort of experience is invaluable,” Pooran told members of the media on Wednesday.

“The experience batting out in the middle, talking about intent, talking about taking on players when to go when not to go, you just don’t get experience like that,” he added.

“We are very happy to have him, even off the pitch he is someone who supports you 100 percent, someone who backs you 100 percent.  You talk about positivity, he is one of the most positive guys we have on the team, in the Caribbean.

“He’s a special human being.  Only when you play cricket with him or against him you’d know what it feels like to have him around.”

 

Apparently having had his fill of detractors questioning his selection to the West Indies 15-man squad for the ICC T20 World Cup later this month, Chris Gayle has reacted strongly and channelled his rage at Sir Curtly Ambrose, who has opined that he would not start the Universe Boss once the two-time champions begin their campaign for a third title.

Ever since the squad was named last month, West Indies selectors have come in for criticism for the selection of Gayle and other players like Darren Bravo, who was named among the reserves. Critics have also questioned why players like Sherfane Rutherford and Odean Smith were not selected given how well each performed during the 2021 Hero CPL tournament in St Kitts and Nevis.

However, amidst all of the criticism, Gayle has perhaps come in for the greatest criticism because of the absence of his explosive form that has made him arguably the most successful T20 batsman in the world.

Former West Indies fast bowler Sir Curtly Ambrose is among those questioning Gayle’s selection. However, with the Jamaican already in the squad, Ambrose did not believe Gayle should start for the West Indies when the tournament begins.

“No, he (Gayle) is not an automatic choice for me. The few home series (West Indies) just played, he had no scores of significance, and I have said before that if he did not do well in those home series, he should not go to the World Cup,” Ambrose reasoned while speaking on Mason and Guest talk show in Barbados last week.

“However, he will be at the World Cup, but for me, he is definitely not an automatic choice for starting… If he gets it going on the day, he can be destructive, but he has not done much in the last 18 months or so to really make me think he will set the World Cup alight.”

Responding to Ambrose’s criticisms, Gayle lashed out hard while speaking on The Island Tea Morning Show in St Kitts on Tuesday.

“I can tell you personally and you can let him know that Chris Gayle, the Universe Boss, have no respect for Curtly Ambrose whatsoever,” said Gayle, who accused the fast-bowling great of seeking attention.

“I am speaking about Curtly Ambrose. I am singling out Curtly Ambrose, one of your own. I highly respected him when I came into the West Indies team. When I just joined the team, I looked up to this man. But I am now speaking from my heart. I don’t know what, since he retired, what he had against Chris Gayle. Those negative things he has been saying within the press, I don’t know if he is looking for attention but he is getting the attention. So I am just giving back the attention which he requires and which he needs.”

Gayle continued: “We have won the tournament twice and we will be going for the third title. The team has seen what is happening. It is going to reflect on the team. If the past players continue being negative, I am Chris Gayle Universe Boss is going to be disrespectful, disrespectful verbally in their face. In the media as well. I am not going to take anything from any senior player. Curtly Ambrose pull your socks up, alright? Support for West Indies, ok? Support West Indies, that is the thing.”

The West Indies begin the defence of their title when they play England on October 23 in Dubai.

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, insists he remains unperturbed by the indifferent form of some players heading into the ICC T20 World Cup as there is still enough time to get things right.

With the start of the tournament just a few days away, there has been some concern raised regarding the form of a few of the team’s potential match-winners based on their performances in lead-up tournaments this year, most recently the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Indian Premier League (IPL).

Falling into that category and of primary concern would be the form of high-impact pair Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, whose IPL form this season best illustrates the point.  The duo set the IPL alight for Punjab Kings XI last season and such form would have been welcome heading into next week.

In 2020, Pooran played 14 matches scoring 353 runs at an average of 35.30, by comparison, the player’s most recent campaign has ended with 85 runs at an average of 7.72, in 12 games.  For Gayle, 2020 saw him score 288 runs and average a healthy 41.14 in 7 games, however, this time around he could only manage 193 runs at an average of 21.44 in 10 games. 

Pollard, however, believes players who might not be in form still have plenty of time to kick into gear for the global showpiece, where they will start as defending champions.

“If we look too much into the past, then that is where sometimes we get ourselves into trouble,” Pollard told members of the media on Tuesday.

“Let’s deal with what we have in the present, the guys that have confidence, roll with them, the guys that don’t we try to get them into that zone with some practice sessions,” he added.

“We have a couple more games and then the big one, which is the World Cup, so from a perspective of being concerned, I know when it comes to the international stage it is about personal pride and individuals will want to show what they have to offer.”

 

      

 

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has revealed that Chris Gayle will be entrusted with specific roles for the West Indies once the ICC T20 World Cup begins later this month.

 Gayle, 42, was a controversial pick for the West Indies selectors with detractors citing his prolonged poor form and age as factors why he should not have been selected. However, Windies selector said Gayle’s experience and leadership were intrinsic factors that made him an asset for the Caribbean side looking to win their third T20 world title on the trot, having won in 2012 and 2016.

During a media session from the United Arab Emirates on Monday, Simmons indicated that more will be asked of the Universe Boss in his final World Cup campaign.

“We have specific roles we have put on Chris and we trust that he is going to be ready and in form and having had a short rest from the game and from the bubble he is going to come back fresh and ready to do what we ask him to do,” Simmons said of Gayle, who left the IPL bubble last month citing bubble fatigue and the need to refresh himself for the world cup.

"Over the last few months, I have been a part of the CWI bubble, CPL bubble followed by the IPL bubble, and I wish to mentally recharge and refresh myself," Gayle said in a statement last month. "I want to refocus on helping the West Indies in the T20 World Cup and would like to take a break in Dubai. My thanks to the Punjab Kings for giving me the time off. My wishes and hopes are with the squad always. All the very best for the games coming up."

Over the past weekend, Gayle posted pictures on Instagram of him enjoying his time off, refreshing himself before returning to action in the world cup.

Gayle had a lukewarm turnout for the Punjab Kings in the 2021 IPL. In 10 matches, the Jamaican star scored 193 runs at an average of 21.85 and strike rate of 125.32. His best score for the Kings was 46.

Champions Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle and will be looking to make it “seventh heaven” when they turn out in the #MenInMaroon for the marquee ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

The legendary duo has played all six tournaments since its inception in 2007 in South Africa and will want to have maximum impact as we enter the seventh edition in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

They later played in 2009 in England, 2010 at home in the Caribbean, 2012 in Sri Lanka, 2014 in Bangladesh and the last edition in 2016 in India. Gayle is the undisputed king of T20 cricket and the Universe Boss has dominated this format everywhere he has set foot on the planet. Bravo is not far behind with his expert bowling and is a sharp thinker and tactician.

Back in 2012, Gayle adopted The Gangnam style as the unofficial theme song for the team and fans joined the global street party. For Bravo, it was an extra-special moment in time as the epic performance came on the night of his birthday. He had the pleasure of taking the catch to seal the sensational result. To savour the memory, he kept the ball and still has it at home.

“It was my 29th birthday and was a very special moment. It was the first time we won the T20 World Cup and as players, we wanted to prove to the world, we were the best, as individuals and as a team,” Bravo said.

“To do it on my birthday was special and something I could never forget. I still have that ball at home … was a dream come true. A lot of people didn’t give us and chance and picked four teams and didn’t have West Indies among their top four. To win on that night against Sri Lanka on their home turf was a great end to the tournament and we proved ourselves as a team.”

Bravo and Gayle have also had some other great moments in T20 World Cups. None better than at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2016 when West Indies celebrated that famous victory over England with Bravo leading the merriment with his song “Champion”.

Gayle is the only man to hit two centuries in the T20 World Cup. In his very first outing against South Africa back in September 2007, he set ablaze the Wanderers in Johannesburg with a sizzling 117 off just 57 balls. It was just the start kind of start that world cricket needed and set the trend for more of his power-packing pyrotechnic displays.

With a sense of occasion, and with an estimated global viewing audience of over 500 million fixed eyes fixed to the Wankhede Stadium, Gayle set the tone for the tournament. It was magical and memorable as he muscled 11 mammoth sixes and lit up the Mumbai night sky to score 100 not out off just 48 balls.

Bravo recalled the moments.

 “I remember I had a launch event in Mumbai and had my teammates and friends. We had a good start to the tournament, and we formed a great unit. Chris made a hundred and started the dance and everyone was inspired and motivated … it became the anthem, and we did the dance and kept on winning,” the allrounder said.

”We won the final the song was the most played. It was a special moment for West Indian people around the world. Everywhere we went there were celebrations. We want to do it again this time around.”

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard believes the team’s overall experience will be a critical factor in the bid to successfully defend its World T20 title.

The final 15 selected to represent the West Indies, for the tournament in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, has stirred up considerable debate in the Caribbean, with several questioning the age of the squad.  At current, the team boasts four players over the age of 35, with an average age of 30.6.

Pollard, however, sees the likes of Chris Gayle, Ravi Rampaul, and Lendl Simmons in the squad, several of who have won multiple World Cups, as a major advantage, particularly in tight situations.

“It’s great to have all these guys and myself playing together again,” Pollard told India.com.

“This hasn’t happened in a very long time. No matter which way you look at it you can’t beat experience because we have seen different scenarios time and time again,” he added.

“We react (to those scenarios) and we get the other players to react and understand the magnitude of what we are in and what we are about to do. Having guys like that to lean on is great, and guys that can get you out of situations where people might think, or you might think as well, that you can’t get out of.

“The younger guys get to learn and get to understand some of the things that are needed to be successful, especially from a T20 aspect. As I’ve said before, we would have seen it time and time again all over the world, different situations, different conditions, different bowlers – having guys like that to help the younger guys, I think you can’t ask for anything better than that.”

 

 

The Universe Boss Chris Gayle has left the IPL bubble citing bubble fatigue and a need to stay fresh for next month’s ICC T20 World Cup.

Former England captain turned cricket analyst Kevin Pietersen has expressed surprise at the decision by Punjab Kings XI to legendary West Indian batsman Chris Gayle out of the line-up on his birthday.

The iconic ball-beater turned 42 on Tuesday but could only watch from the bench as the team fell to a 2 runs loss to Rajasthan Royals.  The West Indian has managed 178 runs in 8 matches, with an average of 25.42.  The average is the fourth-best on the team, but on Tuesday the Kings opted for Aiden Markham at the third place in the line-up, which Gayle has been occupying since last season.

Pietersen admits he found the situation to be an unusual one.

   "There will be some questions asked. I don’t understand why you would leave Chris Gayle out on his birthday,” Pietersen said on Star Sports.

“If there was one game you were going to play him, it was this one. If he failed then you say ‘ok, you can have a bit of rest’. So, I can’t understand the thinking at all," he added.

Gayle has been selected for the West Indies T20 squad for next month’s ICC World T20, the appearance will mark his 7th at the global tournament.

In front of a home crowd, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots secured a place in the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) final with a dominant seven-wicket victory over the Guyana Amazon Warriors. 

The Patriots won the toss and chose to field first. Despite a bright start from the Amazon Warrior’s openers, wickets tumbled in the middle overs before a late burst from Shimron Hetmyer took his side to a substantial 178/9. 

In their chase, the Patriots once again opted to open with Chris Gayle, and he laid the platform for a successful chase, lashing the ball into the stands on numerous occasions before Evin Lewis then took over to guide his side to a crushing victory. 

The Warriors consolidated after losing Brandon King in the fourth over of their innings, with Chandrapaul Hemraj and Shoaib Malik patiently building. However, three wickets in three successive overs, including that of captain Nicholas Pooran, saw the side collapse, reaching 131-8 at one point. Spinners Jon-Russ Jaggesar and Fawad Ahmed were exceptional for the Patriots during this period. It was left to Shimron Hetmyer to salvage the innings and he did so in spectacular style, scoring 45 runs from 20 balls, including a remarkable 25 runs from the last over of the innings. 

St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in turn reached their highest powerplay score of this year’s Hero CPL, Gayle, and Lewis bringing up 68-0 after the first six overs. Gayle was in destructive form, scoring 42 from 27 balls, and after he fell to youngster Kevin Sinclair, it was Lewis who took responsibility to lead the chase. Supported by captain DJ Bravo, who promoted himself to number three, Lewis blasted 77* off just 39 balls as the Patriots won with thirteen balls to spare. 

With this win, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots will now go on to meet the Saint Lucia Kings in Wednesday’s Hero CPL final, with one side set to win their maiden title. 

St Kitts & Nevis Patriots returned to winning ways with an eight-wicket victory over the Trinbago Knight Riders on Saturday night to seal a spot in the latter stages of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League. 

The Patriots bowled brilliantly and then backed that up with a dominant batting display that saw them knock off the victory target with 32 balls to spare. 

 It was Evin Lewis who was the star of the show, making 102 from just 52 balls. 

 The Knight Riders got off to a slow start in the face of some excellent bowling from the Patriots. They reached the end of their PowerPlay at 28-2 with both Lendl Simmons and Denesh Ramdin dismissed caught on the mid-wicket boundary. Ramdin could have gone an over earlier, but Ravi Bopara put down a simple chance. Thankfully for the Patriots, this did not prove too costly. 

A 50-run stand between Darren Bravo and Colin Munro steadied the ship and brought the Knight Riders back into the contest. Munro would go on to top score with 47 but when Darren Bravo went for 22 the Knight Riders lost momentum once again. When Munro and Kieron Pollard went in successive balls bowled by Jon-Russ Jaggesar it looked as if the Knight Riders would set a sub-par total but some big hitting from Sunil Narine took his team to 159-7. 

 The Patriots innings got off to a flying start thanks to Evin Lewis and Chris Gayle who was promoted to open as a result of an injury to Devon Thomas. They reached 67-1 from their PowerPlay overs with Gayle the wicket to fall for 35 from 18 balls. 

When Gayle went it was Lewis who took up the attack, passing his fifty from just 27 balls. While Narine was economical, returning figures of 0/10 from his four overs, the rest of the Knight Riders bowlers struggled for control in the face of the Lewis onslaught. 

Bopara and Lewis shared an 85-run stand, and Bopara contributed just seven runs as the Patriots opener smashed the ball to all parts. 

 This win moves the Patriots back to the top of the table and guarantees them a space in the semi-finals on Tuesday 14 September. 

Scores: St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 160-2 (Lewis 102*, Gayle 35; Pollard 1-20, Khan 1-54) beat Trinbago Knight Riders 159-7 (Munro 47, Narine 32*; Jaggesar 3-32, Drakes 3-32) by eight wickets

 

Ravi Rampaul and Roston Chase have been called for the West Indies World Cup squad for next month’s International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup, 2021 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Former West Indies opener Philo Wallace does not believe Chris Gayle should be included in a West Indies squad for the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates next month.

Wallace believes the 42-year-old Jamaican, arguably the best T20 player in history, who has served West Indies cricket well over the years, is now well past his best. He cites Gayle's performances so far in the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League as clear signs that the Universe Boss is not the game-changing player he used to be.

“Past performances don’t cut it,” Wallace argued while speaking on the Mason&Guest radio show in Barbados on Tuesday evening.

“Gayle has done wonderfully well. I have no disrespect for Christopher Gayle. I think he has done wonderfully well for the West Indies and himself but the time has come where you need to sit down or stand in a mirror and say ‘can I make it? Can I make it through a world cup?”

At the time he made his comments Gayle had scored 83 runs in five matches in the 2021 CPL with a top score of 42. He is averaging 16.6 runs an innings and has a strike rate of 110.60. According to Wallace, those numbers are simply not good enough.

“For where he is right now in the CPL, it’s a bit of a struggle for someone like Gayle knowing his reputation and what he can do, but you want people of that vintage to be striking it,” Wallace said.

“You had enough time to prepare for the CPL and you know that the CPL is coming before selection for the World Cup.

“If you really wanted to make a statement that I want to go to the world cup despite my age you need to be striking the ball and score runs. There is no excuse for it.”

Wallace named the team he would select for the World Cup and it included Kieron Pollard (captain) Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Andre Russell, Obed McCoy, Dwayne Bravo, Jason Holder, Andre Fletcher, Hayden Walsh Jr, Akeal Hosein, Odean Smith and Roston Chase.

He listed Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas and Romario Shepherd as his reserves.

“There is no Gayle, there is no Fidel Edwards because I feel when you get to a certain vintage and you are not fit you have to quit,” Wallace said.

“This cricket is going to be hard. The UAE is not going to be easy against the best players in the world. New Zealand has left out Ross Taylor as well, so they’re looking to move on. West Indies cricket needs to move on.”

 

 

 

St Kitts & Nevis Patriots maintained their unbeaten start to the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with a remarkable final ball win over Barbados Royals, who suffered their fourth defeat of the tournament.

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