By Neto Baptiste
West Indies T20 vice captain, Nicholas Pooran, has backed the inclusion of veteran player and destructive power-hitter Chris Gayle in the region’s T20 squad, as they get ready to defend their T20 World Cup title when the 2021 instalment of the tournament bowls off in the United Arab Emirates and Oman from 17 October to 14 November 2021.
There has been widespread criticism over the selection of the now 42-year-old Gayle but Pooran believes that just his presence in the dressing room will have a significant impact on the players and their performance.
“He’s the greatest T20 batsman the world has ever seen and he has all the records when it comes to T20 cricket, so what can we ask from him again? Just his presence; it doesn’t matter if he makes runs or not. His presence in the dressing room is different and if you’re a cricketer you understand what I am saying. When you have guys like this in a dressing room, it’s a special feeling. These guys give you confidence to make runs, to perform well,” he said.
Gayle has scored a total of 1,854 runs in 74 T20 Internationals with a highest of 117 and another 4,965 in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a high score of 175.
Pooran, who was speaking on Observer AM at the time, said Gayle is a proven winner at that level.
“He’s won the World Cup twice so he knows how to win the World Cup and he knows how to score centuries in the World Cup as well so as a group and as a team we are very thankful to have him and there is only one guy that has 14000 T20 runs and he’s in our team and I am sure the other teams in the world would like him in their team as well so that’s a bonus for us,” the player said.
West Indies will play in Group One of the Super 12 where they will face Australia, England and South Africa. The regional team will open their campaign on October 23 against England.