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West Indies vs India Twenty20: Big guns return as WI aim to salvage pride vs IND

Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree and Kieron Pollard will bolster hosts as world champions face India in one-off Twenty20 International

india vs west indies 2017 Updated: Jul 08, 2017 19:27 IST
Khurram Habib
West Indies have included players like Chris Gayle and Samuel Badree in their squad for the one-off Twenty20 against India on Sunday.
West Indies have included players like Chris Gayle and Samuel Badree in their squad for the one-off Twenty20 against India on Sunday. (AP)

There was a buzz at the Sabina Park on Friday and Saturday as the big names of West Indies cricket finally returned to play in maroons. Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine, all of who missed the ODIs despite being fit and free, took the field and after a brief chat with coach Stuart Law got down to business.

“These are players who are massively experienced in Twenty20 cricket. You don’t need to tell them anything. They’ve played more Twenty20s than I have,” coach Law told HT when asked how tough it is to handle frequently changing sides.

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Pride at stake

The hosts, having been thrashed by India 3-1 in the ODIs will look to restore pride when they take on India in the one-off Twenty20 International here on Sunday.

West Indies are the world champions in this format and they have had the better of India, winning four and losing two in seven Twenty20 Internationals.

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However, the big question is if Sunday’s day encounter will draw some crowds. So low had been the interest in the ODIs that the first thing Chris Gayle hoped is that the fans at his home ground will turn out in numbers to watch him bat.

Gayle, who is 37 now, is playing for West Indies after over a year. He is targeting the 50-over World Cup in 2019 as well as the next Twenty20 World Cup.

Full strength

The good news for West Indies cricket is that Gayle will be trying to sort out issues that have been keeping the likes of him, Narine, Pollard and Samuels out of the ODI team and which has eventually affected West Indies cricket’s standing in ICC rankings.

Cricket West Indies has a rule that entails these players to feature in a minimum number of domestic matches (regional 4-day competition) to qualify to play for West Indies in longer formats, including the ODIs. Since none of them featured in that due to their busy Twenty20 schedule, they couldn’t play and that hurt WI badly.

“We’ll compromise when it comes to that. I am sure they’re working on something to get the senior or popular players back in the game,” he said.

Gayle hoped that with the arrival of big names, crowds will turn up. However, only Sunday will show if West Indies still need the big man and his friends.