ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Superstar opener Chris Gayle has been named in a West Indies 13-man squad to face India in the one-off Twenty20 International at Sabina Park on Sunday.
The 37-year-old, the region’s most experienced player in the shortest format, has not suited up for West Indies since helping them to the capture of the T20 World Cup in India in April last year.
He was picked in a squad to face the Indians in a two-match T20 series in Fort Lauderdale last August but never played because of fitness issues.
Chief selector Courtney Browne said Gayle would further strengthen West Indies for the encounter.
“We welcome Chris back to the T20 squad. He is the most prolific batsman in this format and will add value to our team at the top of the order,” Browne said.
“He will get the chance to play on his home ground and against a top-quality Indian team.”
Gayle has played 295 T20s and recently became the first batsman to crest 10 000 runs in the format. His form during the recent Indian Premier League was worrying, however, as he managed a mere 200 runs with a single half-century.
For West Indies, he has plundered two centuries, the last coming during the T20 World Cup in the opening match against England.
The hig-hitting left-hander will join the likes fellow T20 superstars Kieron Pollard, Marlon Samuels and Sunil Narine in the squad which will be again led by all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite.
Gayle is the only change to the squad that swept Afghanistan last month, replacing Lendl Simmons who had scores of six, 17 and 15 in the three-match series.
Test and one-day captain Jason Holder remains rested with the heavy workload of the England tour on the horizon while all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has not been included.
“This squad has a good mix – experience within the batting and bowling – it is a well-balanced squad,” Browne said.
“Again, this is an opportunity for the young players to showcase their talent and for the experience players to perform and help nurture the young players.”
The last time the two teams met in a T20, West Indies won a nail-biter in Fort Lauderdale by one run.
However, the Windies have had a poor run of results in recent months with just four wins in their last 10 outings.
SQUAD – Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Samuel Badree, Ronsford Beaton, Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams.