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Chris Gayle, ‘universal boss’ of cricket, back in West Indies ODI squad

Chris Gayle has made a comeback to the West Indies ODI team for the first time since 2015 for the upcoming six ODIs against Ireland and England as the Caribbean side aim to qualify directly for the 2019 World Cup in England

cricket Updated: Aug 21, 2017 23:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Chris Gayle,West Indies cricket team,ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Chris Gayle is making a comeback to the West Indies ODI team after two years for the upcoming six ODIs against Ireland and England starting on September 13.(IDI via Getty Images)

Chris Gayle has returned to the West Indies ODI squad after a gap of two years for the upcoming ODI series against Ireland and England in September. The one ODI against Ireland and five ODIs against England assume massive importance for the West Indies as they seek direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup in England.

Gayle, whose last ODI appearance was in the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal against New Zealand in Wellington, has primarily focused on Twenty20 Internationals and franchise T20 leagues. Along with Gayle, Marlon Samuels also makes a comeback to the West Indies ODI squad, having last played in October 2016, against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.

The inclusion of Gayle and Samuels comes as a result of the relaxation in West Indies’ selection eligibility criteria. In July, Cricket West Indies struck down a policy that said players would be eligible for national selection only if they play in the corresponding format in regional cricket. This had led to an intense stand-off between the Board and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA).

Commenting on the selection of Gayle and Samuels, chairman of West Indies selection panel Courtney Browne said, “Gayle and Samuels will both add value to our batting and help with the nurturing of the young batsmen in the team.”

West Indies in trouble

Qualification rules for the 2019 World Cup state that the seven top-ranked sides apart from hosts England gain direct qualification. The cut-off date for direct qualification is September 30. Sri Lanka are in the eighth position with 88 points and the West Indies are ninth with 78 points. Currently, Sri Lanka are playing a five-match ODI series against India and are trailing 0-1.

Sri Lanka can secure direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup if they win two out of the remaining four games against India. However, following their huge nine-wicket loss in Dambulla, their chances of winning even a single match looks bleak. If Sri Lanka suffer a whitewash, they will slip to 86 points while a 1-4 loss will see them remain on 88 points.

The India vs Sri Lanka series ends on September 3 while the West Indies ODI series against Ireland and England begins on September 13. The advantage for the Caribbean side is that they will be clear of what they need to do in order to secure qualification. A loss in any one of the six ODIs could see the West Indies exit the direct qualification stage should Sri Lanka not suffer a 5-0 whitewash.

For the West Indies, they will then play a qualifying event featuring the top four sides from the ICC World Cricket League Championship and top two sides from the ICC World Cricket League. The top two teams from this event will get to play in the World Cup 2019.

West Indies ODI squad for England and Ireland tour

Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder (capt), Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Kesrick Williams

Fixtures

One-off ODI: vs Ireland, September 13, Stormont

1st ODI: vs England, September 19, Old Trafford

2nd ODI: vs England, September 21, Trent Bridge

3rd ODI: vs England, September 24, Bristol

4th ODI: vs England, September 27, Kia Oval

5th ODI: vs England, September 29, Southampton

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 20:01 IST