Cricket

Gayle's return 'huge boost' for West Indies — Holder

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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Manchester, United Kingdom (AFP) — West Indies Captain Jason Holder has backed the returning Chris Gayle to make a big impact in the One-Day International (ODI) series against England starting today.

The fixture at Old Trafford, the first of a five-match ODI series, is set to be powerhouse opening batsman Gayle's first at this level since the 2015 World Cup — where he made the first double-century in the competition's history, smashing a blistering 215 against Zimbabwe in Canberra.

A protracted dispute with Cricket West Indies chiefs kept the 37-year-old Jamaica left-hander on the sidelines of the international game for more than two years.

But he returned to Twenty20 international action on his home ground of Sabina Park, Kingston, in July.

And he showed he had lost none of his ability to score rapidly with a blazing 40 off 21 balls as World Twenty20 champions West Indies beat England by 21 runs in the lone Twenty20 of their tour at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.

Gayle has scored more than 9,000 runs, including 22 hundreds, in 269 ODIs at a strike rate of 85.11.

Holder welcomed his impending return to the ODI format by telling reporters at Old Trafford yesterday: “It's obviously a huge boost. The calibre of player Chris is, you can expect really good things from him.

“He showed some form in the T20 game and had some good form in our CPL (Caribbean Premier League) competition recently concluded,” the all-rounder added.

“I'm really looking forward to having him back. He seems up for the challenge, he seems upbeat and really happy to be back. I'm looking forward to good things from Chris.”

Holder, not in the Twenty20 squad after leading West Indies in a 2-1 Test series loss to England earlier in the tour, said his side could take some confidence from a win at Chester-le-Street, where they overcame cold and wet conditions to record a convincing victory over England in a repeat of last year's World Twenty20 final in Kolkata.

“That (Saturday's) result should give us a bit of momentum, albeit a T20 game,” said Holder.

“We are professional athletes, we know what to expect here in English conditions. A few of the guys have played here before, a few played the T20 game coming into this one.”

The Barbados all-rounder added: “From all reports it was difficult in Durham with the wet outfield, but it's something we've grown to expect and you've just got to adapt and adjust to it.”

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