Gayle will be hungry - Pollard
Chris Gayle will have enough "hunger and desire" when he returns to West Indies colours for the first time in 15 months against England. That is the opinion of Gayle's West Indies team-mate Kieron Pollard, who said that Gayle's return only means West Indies would be well-equipped to face England in the three-match ODI series followed by a solitary Twenty20.
"Obviously it is a boost. Chris is a world-class. He has proven himself over the years," Pollard said on the eve of West Indies' tour match against Middlesex at Lord's. "I am a youngster and have seen Chris on television and I get the opportunity to play alongside him in the same team. It is fantastic. He has been out for a while so he will be hungry to go out there and perform."
Gayle last played for West Indies last March during the 2011 World Cup when West Indies lost to Pakistan in the quarter-finals. He was included in the 15-man squad for the England ODI series but subsequently got embroiled in a bitter dispute with the WICB, which was resolved on the eve of the squad announcement.
Gayle kept himself match-fit in the time away from the West Indies dressing room in various Twenty20 domestic leagues around the world. He has topped the run charts in the last two editions of the IPL, which Pollard says can only be a positive now for West Indies.
"He has been doing well in IPL and all over," Pollard said. "It is now a matter of transforming it to West Indies cricket. And I am sure he is willing and ready to do that so hopefully we can go out there as a team and do well."
Pollard said it was obvious that Gayle would have the "desire and the hunger" after being out of international cricket for more than a year but he did not know what exactly Gayle's plans were and it would be better for him to speak, but he knew he was determined to be successful for West Indies again.
Pollard, who is one of the seven ODI players to join the squad, said West Indies would definitely prove to be a tough challenge for England. "We are a very good team. We have a wealth of experience with Chris back at the top of the order. He is one of the most explosive batsman in the world and an experienced former captain. Then we have Marlon Samuels, who has been around for a while along with Dwayne Bravo and Denesh Ramdin and myself so we have a very experienced team. The days of just competing in ODIs are over. It is a matter of performing on the field."
Pollard though was cautious about calling West Indies the favourites only because he felt every player, no matter how big a name, had to still prove himself through performances. "At the end of the day names on the paper count for nothing. Your performance on the field matters. You can't judge from the names on the paper that we are a stronger team in ODIs than in Test cricket. If we go out there and give a good account of ourselves and win games, that would be better."
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo