West Indies’ ‘Gayle Storm’ set to hit Eng­land to­day

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Con­tro­ver­sial bats­man Chris Gayle will be look­ing to en­sure the West Indies' trou­bled build-up to the World T20 be­comes a dis­tant mem­ory when they open their cam­paign against Eng­land in Mum­bai Wed­nes­day.

The Windies are out to prove they are still a force in the short­est form of the game de­spite their de­clin­ing Test sta­tus, while Eng­land want to atone for a hu­mil­i­at­ing early exit from last year's 50-over World Cup.

A pay dis­pute cast doubt over the West Indies' ap­pear­ance in In­dia and while the row was re­solved at the 11th hour, re­la­tions be­tween play­ers and the coun­try's cricket board re­main tense. Their prepa­ra­tions have also been hit by the with­drawal of all-rounder Kieron Pol­lard and off-spin­ner Su­nil Narine, who is T20 cricket's top-per­form­ing bowler and has thrived in the In­dian Premier League (IPL).

But in the enig­matic Gayle they pos­sess a bats­man ca­pa­ble of de­stroy­ing what­ever bowl­ing at­tack he faces and sin­gle-hand­edly win­ning any match, pro­vid­ing he stays clear of off-field con­tro­versy.

The Ja­maican, nick­named "Gayle Storm", faced al­le­ga­tions of sex­ism af­ter he asked an Aus­tralian TV pre­sen­ter for a date live on air in Jan­uary dur­ing the Big Bash League.

He also lit up the tour­na­ment for the right rea­sons, hit­ting a 12-ball half-cen­tury.

Gayle, 36, holds the record for the high­est ever score in T20s, 175 off 66 balls, and hit the for­mat's first in­ter­na­tional cen­tury dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral World T20 in 2007.

"To me he is the best T20 bats­man, the most de­struc­tive one in this game so he knows his game in­side-out," West Indies cap­tain Dar­ren Sammy said of the left-handed bats­man last week. But the se­cond-ranked Windies, who are look­ing to add to their 2012 World T20 ti­tle, face a tough prospect at Mum­bai's Wankhede Sta­dium in the shape of a new, at­tack-minded Eng­land side.

Eoin Mor­gan's team have turned their for­tunes around since they were dumped out of the 2015 World Cup by Bangladesh, adopt­ing a more ag­gres­sive at­ti­tude which has seen them up their run rate.

In Mor­gan, all-rounder Ben Stokes, opener Ja­son Roy and classy right-han­der Joe Root, Eng­land have strength in depth but they will miss in­jured fast bowler Steven Finn.

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