England in West Indies 2013-14 March 7, 2014

Gayle calls for 'drastic improvement'


Croft: Gayle is a big factor

West Indies opener Chris Gayle has pronounced himself "99 per cent fit" at the start of the three-match Twenty20 series against England in Barbados and admits that West Indies need to up their game drastically in time for their World T20 title defence in Bangladesh.

"We've had some poor results in the last few games on the limited overs front but both teams are going through some challenging times," Gayle said. "Personally, I'm feeling really great, having rested my glutes.

"I haven't really been doing much in the way of playing, or even watching, cricket to be honest. But as long as my body's feeling fine, I can't wait to get out there. I owe the people some big runs and I think with home support for us, this is the time and place to deliver," he said.

Gayle stressed that following England's 2-1 ODI series win in Antigua, West Indies needed to address their sub-par batting and added that this series was ideally positioned for them to garner some momentum going into Bangladesh.

"It's been rough recently. I think we need to be more steady in the crease but we do have the batting capable of getting big runs and more importantly, the wins. We also have disciplined players like Sunil Narine and Ravi Rampaul to deliver on the bowling end of things."

Alongside Gayle's hitting prowess, the return of Marlon Samuels to the fold will help to offset the loss of Kieron Pollard, which Gayle labelled as "a huge blow to the team". He was nonetheless pleased to see the core of the title-winning unit from 2012 in Sri Lanka back in the mix.

"We have Marlon back but we all know how dangerous 'Polly' can be and it's devastating when you lose a player like that. But, even with as many talented individuals as we have, we have to go out there and play as a team to win. We also have one or two new faces to add a fresh dimension to our side."

Gayle did not escape the obligatory question about Kevin Pietersen's enforced retirement from the England side. He suggested that England were substantially weaker without Pietersen and regarded England's treatment of him as "disrespectful".

"KP is one of the best. Any team would love to have him in their ranks. I think it was disrespectful how he was treated and the way he went out but you never know what happens behind closed doors. I'm glad I won't be facing him on the field. He's a tremendous asset and someday I hope he gets back into the England mix if the door ever re-opens."

He remained adamant that the losses of Pietersen and Root would be detrimental to England's T20 aspirations but his own resolution of his long-standing personal spats with the WICB encouraged his belief that there was a chance Pietersen could make his return someday.

Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roy on March 9, 2014, 16:47 GMT

    As well respected as he is Chanderpaul,he saved WI cricket countless times even stayed there when other bats men where loosing there wickets so Lara could make history 400,and i can go on and on,he should be given the opportunity to play in all forms and let him decide which form or forms of the game he wants to retire from,WICB should treat Chanderpaul with the respect he deserves and not DICTATE.

  • Roy on March 9, 2014, 12:15 GMT

    Dclar301 I'm talking about current players, the reference doesn't make sense, Sarwan is 33 years old and currently in from, selectors can make it happen if the really want to, keep selecting a team with not much experience we not going to win games and I'm not a guyanese resident.

  • Josey-Ann on March 9, 2014, 0:31 GMT

    You have to be really naïve not to address the West Indies as a collective unit. That is what has been occurring over the years and it leads to our selection of the less than best players that constitute what is not our best teams. Such insularities worked almost unnoticed when we were richly talented. We can ill-afford such especially now so let us not pick at the better and tested players to make our non-arguments. Mind you I am not Jamaican but I am a West Indian. I am a realist. That said, I would not refer to the incentives attached to playing in competitions like the IPL. Whether or not the WICBC is capable of really attempting to select the best team and constructing the sort of arena that augers well for performances commensurate with those elite competitions for those individuals that only make a living by playing cricket is beyond us all. At this time let us concentrate on positive preparation for the team from wherever it can be had.

  • Alexei on March 8, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    BTW. I'm pretty sure anybody would have better returns on those easy wickets in Bangalore than the slow/dry, difficult wickets being used in countries like SL, Bangladesh and the WI. Think before you speak for once, eh?

  • Alexei on March 8, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    Chris Gayle has the first international T20 hundred. Playing for WI. In every T20 world cup he has played outstanding and solid performances, he just didn't have his support until the last one in Sri Lanka. Please guys, stop your garbage and leave your non-sensical arguments for the street corners and domino games.

  • David on March 8, 2014, 18:11 GMT

    Tutorial, you should also check out Sobers and the 3 W's record they are better than todays players,should we also consider them when picking the team?. Sarwan is pass his sell by date. Did you see him in the CPL? He was captain did not bowl and batted at number 8. When he batted higher up he was lost. A total failure. Chanderpaul should play test and 50 over that it.

  • Satesh on March 8, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    Chris Gayle is our BEST opener in all versions of the game ans YES we desperately NEED him in the team! We do also need him to perform and if he has recovered, there is no acceptable reason he shouldn't be selected. if West Indies would select our best in one team then surely Gayle if fit, will be there.so also will Roach, Taylor, Sarwan & Chanderpaul. the last 3 are among the currently ignored even though there are undeniably amoung our BEST! I am well aware that we have to plan and build for the future but that CANNOT be as sucessful as it could be without a core of senior players who are not necessarily failing. All international teams will love to have Shiv to select but us!! with respect to IPL - Gayle and other have an oppertunity to make more bucks and why should anyone keep them out of our team because of that is beyond me. The rather short playing years these guys have should allow for them to try and earn as much as they can. all of us would want to do that for ourselves too.

  • Amir on March 8, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    Gayle only performs in non value add tournaments like the IPL and does not do well in international games especially against better sides. I can't remember the last time when he actually did something to WI.

  • Android on March 8, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    greatest player when on song

  • Roy on March 8, 2014, 14:11 GMT

    check out Chanderpaul and Sarwan's ODI,t20I averages, its better than most of WI "star bats men" what a joke!!! people are fooling them self.

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