By Neto Baptiste
Hard-hitting West Indies batsman and probably one of the most talked about cricketers over the past decade, Chris Gayle, has welcomed continued criticism over his inclusion in a T20 squad to face a touring Sri Lanka squad set to start on Wednesday at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show on Monday during the release of his latest single titled “Universe Boss Blessings”, Gayle said the criticisms “keep me going”, adding “I love those critics”.
“I love those critics; I hope there are many more out there because without them, I can’t get extra popular, so I am going to need them. So if any other player don’t want those people who criticize them out there then just send them to me because I’d love to have them under my wings because they are very special and I love them so much. They keep you going and they keep you motivated,” he said.
Gayle was included in the T20 squad named late last week. The other members of the squad are Kieron Pollard (captain); Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair.
The destructive batsman said that despite all, his first love remains West Indies Cricket.
“It’s always a pleasure to represent the entire Caribbean, represent West Indies and to put on the maroon clothing and don the maroon cap as well. So, that’s where my heart is and if I can actually help West indies in any sort of way, then I am always willing to do that,” he said.
“I hope I can play a part with the youngsters who are coming up now and try to uplift West indies cricket as much as possible. But this is where it all started and to actually be back and to give back as well is very good and not necessarily from a playing point of view, but to even share my views, share my experience because there are a lot of new faces within West Indies cricket as well. They will actually take the baton on to a next level and better themselves and West Indies cricket also,” he added.
The T20I matches that will be played under floodlights on March 3, 5 and 7 starting at 6 pm Eastern Caribbean Time (5 pm Jamaica Time), will create history as the first full international matches to be played by the official West Indies Men’s team at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
The T20s will also be the first West Indies matches to be played in Antigua since 2013. West Indies will use these matches to prepare to defend their ICC T20 World Cup title scheduled to be played in India later this year.