BARBADOS - Explosive opener Chris Gayle believes the West Indies have a realistic shot at defending their World Twenty20 title but admits the regional side will face a tough challenge. The big-hitting left-hander was a key member of the side which lifted the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka two years ago, and is expected to be at the forefront again as the side does battle in the March 16 to April 6 campaign in Bangladesh, reports CMC.
“It would be nice if history could repeat itself but it’s going to be tough as the other teams are playing good cricket at this point in time, and they are actually in good form as well,” Gayle told reporters at Kensington Oval Friday. “It is going to be good to get (out of the first round), that’s always important. We’ll target that first and then look forward to the semis and hopefully the final.” Since winning the T20 World Cup, the West Indies have lost five of the 10 T20 Internationals they have played. More significantly, they have lost five of the last six within the last year. The Windies also find themselves in a tough group alongside Australia, India and Pakistan.
Gayle said it was therefore important that the West Indies used the three-match T20 series against England starting Sunday at the Oval, to find precious momentum ahead of the World Twenty20. “(The series) is important for both teams even though England have been playing a lot of cricket but it’s good for us to try and gain some momentum,” Gayle said. “We haven’t been doing well in the shorter format recently. We lost a lot of games but hopefully we can build some momentum and we can be dangerous at the T20 World Cup if we get some momentum.”
Chris Gayle said that he was 'disappointed' with the manner Pietersen 'bowed' out of international cricket, as it was 'disrespectful'. (TOI Photo)
Meabwhile, Gayle has slammed the 'disrespectful' English Cricket Board (ECB) over sacking of his buddy Kevin Pietersen from the England team. Gayle said that he was 'disappointed' with the manner Pietersen 'bowed' out of international cricket, as it was 'disrespectful'. According to the Mirror, Gayle also sad that it is sad to see big player, who has made an impact around the world, to 'go out like that' and added that for a top player like Pietersen a chance to retire and walk away from the game should be provided regardless of what is happening. Gayle also said that he would miss him personally as Pietersen is an 'easy wicket' for him and is also sure that the fans would miss him too adding that he would try to entertain the fans.  Although, Pietersen and Gayle have reportedly been welcomed back into the Windies squad with open arms, after signing a new central contract for the first time in three years, Pietersen is just a gun for hire. Gayle, who has had problems with the West Indies Cricket board and also had injury problems, said that he is keen to play all the three formats of cricket for West Indies, the report added.