‘Give us cheer’
After failing to make last year’s ICC 50-over World Cup for the first time in the team’s history, former West Indies captain and iconic batsman Chris Gayle believes they have a shot at redemption by winning this summer’s Twenty20 global showpiece in the Caribbean and United States.
The regional side missed the World Cup in India last October to November after being eliminated from the qualifiers following defeats to the likes of Zimbabwe, Scotland and the Netherlands last June. It was the first time a former World Cup champion did not participate in the limited overs tournament.
The Jamaican Gayle, who represented the West Indies at five 50-over World Cups, said the current Daren Sammy-coached team has a great opportunity to make things right in front of home fans in June.
“Just like other West Indian fans or persons, I was disappointed not seeing West Indies in the World Cup for the first time. But it’s good to see them actually rebound, they just won a series against England,” he told Gulf News.
“The good thing about it is as well as they have something to play for, the next Twenty20 World Cup is going to be held in the Caribbean and the USA. So they have a lot to play for, winning it for Caribbean people after missing out on the World Cup in India. Hopefully, they go well, they started the series well against England so hopefully they can build up some momentum leading up to the World Cup to give us something to cheer about,” Gayle added.
There has been the narrative that a contributing factor to the team’s decline across all formats is players prioritising playing in T20 and T10 leagues around the world instead of turning out for the West Indies in international series.
The 44-year-old Gayle has played franchise cricket in countries like India, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa and Canada and has no problem with his regional counterparts taking part in the leagues.
“There’s no problem, you can’t be too hard on any particular player because the entire fraternity is a business now. The entire cricketing world, it’s not like what it used to be 15 [or] 10 years ago where it was like more so international cricket, the game has actually changed, and you know, start to revolve around T20 cricket.
“It’s a business and you know, you look at loyalties, loyalty don’t really happen when it comes on to a board or a franchise and a player. The players have all rights to make their own decision and what’s best for them, so I will back any player with what decision they make or what venture they’re looking or which avenue they’re looking to take, I will back them 100 per cent. It’s business, it’s not only in cricket but it’s all sports,” Gayle said.
Two-time former champions West Indies, led by Jamaican Rovman Powell, go in search of their third T20 World Cup title after victories in 2012 and 2016.
The 2024 edition is to run from June 4 to 30 with matches scheduled for Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, Antigua, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and venues in the USA.
No match will be held in Jamaica after the country’s Government failed to submit a bid to host.