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Posts Tagged ‘chris gayle’

Australia go into their first Test series since the Ashes with a strong desire to bounce back, and one could hardly dispute that the West Indies are in need of a boost following their recent troubles, so both sides should be sufficiently motivated for the three Test series which starts on Thursday.

For Australia, the side is fairly settled, with Doug Bollinger confirmed as the 12th man for the First Test. Mitchell Johnson will be hoping for a return to form following his well-publicised struggles over the English summer, whilst Stuart Clark now seems to have been cut adrift indefinitely. As for the batting line-up, Shane Watson is well established as Katich’s opening partner, and the rest of the top and middle order is similarly predictable. Anything other than a series win for the hosts is unthinkable for captain Ponting, who will desperately be trying to shake off the disappointment (and the stigma) of a second Ashes defeat under his stewardship.

The tourists will be boosted by the return of Chris Gayle from Jamaica in time for the First Test. Much, as ever, rests on the captain’s shoulders, as well as those of Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo, with the latter hoping to translate his good form for Trinidad & Tobago across to the Test format. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Adrian Barath looks set to open the batting alongside Gayle in a partnership that will have to gel quickly in the face of the formidable Aussie pace attack, not to mention the pace-friendly conditions at the Gabba. The Windies face an uphil struggle, to say the least.

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It looks like Chris Gayle’s future as West Indies captain is far from certain, with Daren Ganga widely touted as a possible replacement after his success with Trinidad & Tobago. But who deserves the job?

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It seems that sense may be about to prevail, as an agreement appears to have been reached between the WICB and the WIPA over their long-running and bitter contract dispute.

The agreement came after “a three day meeting between Dr. Julian Hunte and Mr. Dinanath Ramnarine” (presumably with frequent toilet breaks), and means that the forthcoming tour to Australia should feature the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, rather than Tino Best and a load of people you’ve never heard of.

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India evidently used up all their runs in the First ODI against the West Indies, as they only managed 188 at the same ground as they slumped to defeat in the second match. Of the 188, 95 were made by Dhoni, sharing a century partnership with RP Singh to rescue the tourists from the depths of 82/8. For the hosts, the bowlers ran riot, with Ravi Rampaul’s 4-37 doing a large chunk of the damage.

Chasing down such a meagre total was child’s play for the Windies, with the tourists cruising to victory with nearly 16 full overs to spare. Runako Morton made 85 not out and Gayle blasted 64 from 46 balls as the hosts levelled the series at the halfway stage with surprising ease.

The best and worst of India has been on display already in this series, and it is only two matches old. Meanwhile, the West Indian bowlers may just be starting to get going.

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After the sugary delights of the World Twenty20, it’s back to the slightly more balanced diet of 50-over cricket for the West Indies and India with the four-match ODI series which starts tomorrow at Sabina Park.

The tourists have been hit by injury (Sehwag, Raina) as well as the desire to give some key players (Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan) a rest, but a ‘weak’ Indian side still contains the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Ishant Sharma and Gambhir. Whilst their performance at the World Twenty20 was a disappointment, a disappointed India often bounce back strongly, and the inclusion of fresh faces may well prove to be the catalyst for a revival of their fortunes. Dhoni, as ever, will be key.

For the West Indies, an encouraging home Test series (at least in terms of results, the WICB‘s reputation took a bit of a beating) against England was followed up with a seemingly jaded performance against the same side away from home, and the contrast between the Chris Gayle who grumbled and griped his way thought that series and his swashbuckling Twenty20 alter-ego was vivid. The Windies will be hoping that they have the latter at their disposal for the next couple of weeks, as well as his partner-in-boundaries Dwayne Bravo (who is joined by brother Darren in the West Indies side for the first time). Sulieman Benn is also likely to have to play at his best, as he will face a tough examination of his bowling from the side who are traditionally considered the best in the world at playing spin.

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It seems the West Indies don’t just have one player who can go ballistic. There’s Dwayne Bravo, too. Enjoy his 66 not out against India (from a mere 36 balls) below:

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Group E

  • The West Indies may have hammered Australia, but that victory owed a lot more to Chris Gayle’s power-hitting than it did to competent fielding from the team at large. Conceding as many runs as the side has recently probably won’t see them progress any further, but such is Gayle’s talent that few totals are unequivocally out of reach if the Windies bat second.

Group F

  • Ireland have exceeded many expectations by reaching this stage, and the lone Associate side remaining in the competition will need more than a little luck to progress any further. The match against Pakistan, though is bound to rekindle memories of 2007, and there’s still a chance of another upset or two being sprung.
  • New Zealand haven’t shown as much promise in their two group matches as I thought they might, but the quality of Vettori, McCullum, Oram and Taylor (if all are fit at the same time) will raise hopes of a Semi Final place.

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