February 9, 2000

West Indies Domestic: Gayle, King top of their game

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Two Young players are heading the Busta Cup averages after the preliminary phase of the competition.

Chris Gayle, the 20-year-old Jamaican who made his One-Day International debut for the West Indies last year, and Reon King, the 24-year-old Guyanese pacer who enjoyed a satisfying tour of New Zealand, lead the batting and bowling averages after the first five rounds of matches.

The left-handed Gayle is also the tournament's leading run-scorer, his 411 runs having been scored at an average of 58.71 innings. He is the only player with more than 400 runs and an average of more than 50.

His highest score was an unbeaten 121 against Guyana at Sabina Park in the second series of matches and his consistency was underlined by three other scores of more than 50.

King has 17 wickets at 10.47 apiece. In his first match of the tournament, he grabbed a ten-wicket match-haul against Trinidad and Tobago at Guaracara Park. It was one of only two such hauls in the competition.

The competition's leading wicket-taker is Guyanese leg-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo, whose 27 scalps have been taken at 18.77 each.

Three other bowlers have taken more than 20 wickets. They are Barbadian leg-spinner Dave Marshall (24 at 15.83), his teammate, fast bowler Hendy Bryan (21 at 17.95) and Trinidad and Tobago off-spinner Mukesh Persad (21 at 18.04).

Apart from Gayle, the only other player to pass 300 runs is Barbados captain Philo Wallace, whose 360 runs have been made at 45 an innings.

The big opening batsman is the only player with two centuries: 117 against Guyana at Kensington in the opening round and 100 against Trinidad and Tobago in the final round.

Outside of Gayle and Wallace, there are four players averaging more than 40 with the bat. They are Barbados' Courtney Browne (259 runs at 43.16), Windwards' Roy Marshall (289 at 41.28), Leewards' Runako Morton (284 at 40.57) and Guyanese Shivnarine Chanderpaul (203 at 40.60).

Of interest is that Sherwin Campbell, Adrian Griffith, Brian Lara, Jimmy Adams, Ricardo Powell and Wavell Hinds, all of whom toured New Zealand, are not among those with 150 runs and an average of 20.