Sports

Gayle, IPL stars search for form in Australia warm-up

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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SOUTHAMPTON, England (CMC) — Veteran opener Chris Gayle will be among several West Indies players anxious to find one-day form when the Caribbean side take on Australia in a warm-up match here Wednesday.

Gayle was among seven players who joined up with the rest of the squad last weekend, having missed the just-concluded Tri-Nations Series in Ireland due to Indian Premier League commitments.

The fixture was not originally part of the schedule but was organised in an attempt by Cricket West Indies to give the IPL players additional match practice.

And with West Indies set to play their opening game of the World Cup in 10 days' time, the 39-year-old Gayle said it was imperative these players made the most of the outing.

“It's important for guys to get some runs under their belts and try and get some form leading up the tournament,” he told reporters.

“You couldn't ask for a better opponent to play against than Australia. [They have] one of the best bowling attacks in world cricket right now so you can actually see where you are as a batter. It's good for all of us as batters to go up against them because we have to meet in the tournament as well.”

He added: “We all know what the conditions here [in England] are like – it's good for cricket. It's a World Cup, a big stage event and everyone is looking forward to it. All the guys are putting in the work and we're looking forward to it.”

Gayle, along with fellow left-handers Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis, all-rounders Andre Russell and Carlos Brathwaite, and fast bowler Oshane Thomas, saw out their contracts in the IPL before joining up with the squad for the camp at the Rose Bowl here which got underway last Saturday.

The Jamaican was in prime form for Kings XI Punjab, plundering 490 runs at an average of 40 and a strike rate of 153. It followed on from his excellent form against England in the Caribbean this year when he amassed 424 runs in the five-match one-day series.

“I'm still in good nick to be honest with you. I had a not to bad IPL coming off the home series against England,” he explained.

“The good thing about it is that I've been playing cricket. That is very important for me to continue playing cricket and get some games under my belt and eventually come here to the UK, and start the tournament with a few warm-up games as well.

“It's a long tournament. For me personally, I just have to try and monitor [myself] as carefully as possible and get the mindset right and I'll be ready out there.”

West Indies will also play two official World Cup warm-up matches in Bristol next week, taking on South Africa on May 26 and New Zealand two days later.

The will face Pakistan in their World Cup opener on May 31 in Nottingham.


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