'Specific roles' for Chris Gayle as Windies eye third T20 world title says Coach Simmons

By October 11, 2021

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has revealed that Chris Gayle will be entrusted with specific roles for the West Indies once the ICC T20 World Cup begins later this month.

 Gayle, 42, was a controversial pick for the West Indies selectors with detractors citing his prolonged poor form and age as factors why he should not have been selected. However, Windies selector said Gayle’s experience and leadership were intrinsic factors that made him an asset for the Caribbean side looking to win their third T20 world title on the trot, having won in 2012 and 2016.

During a media session from the United Arab Emirates on Monday, Simmons indicated that more will be asked of the Universe Boss in his final World Cup campaign.

“We have specific roles we have put on Chris and we trust that he is going to be ready and in form and having had a short rest from the game and from the bubble he is going to come back fresh and ready to do what we ask him to do,” Simmons said of Gayle, who left the IPL bubble last month citing bubble fatigue and the need to refresh himself for the world cup.

"Over the last few months, I have been a part of the CWI bubble, CPL bubble followed by the IPL bubble, and I wish to mentally recharge and refresh myself," Gayle said in a statement last month. "I want to refocus on helping the West Indies in the T20 World Cup and would like to take a break in Dubai. My thanks to the Punjab Kings for giving me the time off. My wishes and hopes are with the squad always. All the very best for the games coming up."

Over the past weekend, Gayle posted pictures on Instagram of him enjoying his time off, refreshing himself before returning to action in the world cup.

Gayle had a lukewarm turnout for the Punjab Kings in the 2021 IPL. In 10 matches, the Jamaican star scored 193 runs at an average of 21.85 and strike rate of 125.32. His best score for the Kings was 46.

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    Spirited efforts from Kavem Hodge and Alick Athanaze led an excellent West Indian batting performance on day two of the second Test against England at Trent Bridge on Friday.

    Replying to England’s 416 all out on day one, the West Indians reached 351-5 off 84 overs at stumps on day two, trailing their English counterparts by just 65 runs.

    Openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Mikyle Louis got proceedings off to a good start for the West Indies with a 53-run opening partnership despite a testing spell of bowling from Mark Wood which saw him record a delivery at 97.1 miles per hour.

    That partnership ended in the 15th over when Louis went caught off the bowling of off-spinner Shoaib Bashir for 21.

    The skipper and new batsman Kirk McKenzie put on a further 25 before Brathwaite was next to go in the 22nd over, caught at short leg by Ollie Pope off the bowling of first Test hero Gus Atkinson for a well-played 48, his highest score since a 75 in July 2023 against India in Port-of-Spain.

    Then, on the stroke of lunch, McKenzie played an ill-advised shot off the bowling of Bashir to fall for 11 and leave the tourists 84-3 in the 25th over.

    The post-lunch session then saw the Dominican pair of Hodge and Athanaze brilliantly navigating some probing bowling from the hosts.

    Hodge did have one reprieve when he was dropped by Joe Root off the bowling of Wood in the 42nd over.

    The pair carried on to put on 175 for the fourth wicket before Athanaze unfortunately fell 18 runs shy of a well-deserved maiden Test hundred off the bowling of England captain Ben Stokes in the 62nd over.

    Hodge went on to bring up an excellent maiden Test ton of his own with a brilliant straight drive for four off Wood.

    His hundred came off 143 balls and included 17 fours. He was eventually dismissed by Chris Woakes in the 75th over for 120 off 171 balls.

    "It was important we put our heads down and took some info from the England first innings," Hodge told Sky Sports at the end of the day.

    "We made use of a good batting track. It feels amazing [to make a century], it is always good to contribute to the team, especially coming off the first Test when we didn't do so well as a batting unit.

    On the partnership with Athanaze, he added: "Facing [Mark] Wood, it is not every day you face a guy who bowls every single ball over 90 miles per hour. It was really important we got through that period as it would have been really difficult for a new batter to start against that."

    The not out batsmen at the crease at stumps were Joshua Da Silva on 32* and Jason Holder on 23*. The pair have, so far, put on 46 for the sixth wicket.

    Shoaib Bashir was England’s most successful bowler on the day with 2-100 from 23 overs.

    Full Scores:

    England 416 all out off 88.3 overs (Ollie Pope 121, Ben Duckett 71, Ben Stokes 69, Alzarri Joseph 3-98, Kavem Hodge 2-44, Kevin Sinclair 2-73, Jayden Seales 2-90)

    West Indies 351-5 off 84 overs (Kavem Hodge 120, Alick Athanaze 82, Kraigg Brathwaite 48, Shoaib Bashir 2-100)

     

     

     

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    "I wouldn’t say I had doubts," Pope added, "but I was thinking: 'why is everyone else in the country scoring runs in county cricket, but England's number three isn't going out and averaging 50?'

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    To say West Indies were put to the sword might sound cliche, but that is exactly what transpired on day one of their second Test against England at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

    Much like West Indies batsmen had no response to Gus Atkinson's precision in the first Test at Lord's, the Caribbean side's bowlers did little to slow England's batting onslaught on this occasion, though it was not for a lack of trying. This, as several chances were squandered in the field, and England rode their wave of fortune to post a daunting 416 all out.

    Ollie Pope, who was dropped twice on 46 and 54 by Jason Holder and Alick Athanaze, plundered 121 from 165 deliveries. His knock, which had 15 boundaries and a solitary six, was backed by Ben Duckett's 59-ball 71 and captain Ben Stokes, who made 69.

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    Data Debrief: Speedy Duckett into the history books

    Duckett needed just 32 deliveries to reach a half-century, as he kept up a pace mostly seen in T20Is.

    It is the third-quickest 50 for England in their Test history, with Duckett drawing level with Ian Botham's effort against New Zealand in 1986. 

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