BRISTOL, England, CMC — West Indies will hope the return of Chris Gayle to their line-up will trigger the spark that leads to a series-levelling victory over England in the third One-day International today.
The Windies trail 0-1 in the five-match series, following an eight-wicket defeat in the first ODI at Old Trafford, but they did not feel the full impact of Gayle’s absence with a hamstring injury for the second ODI, due to the weather allowing just 14 deliveries in the entire contest at Trent Bridge.
As they look to identify a group of players that would form the core of a squad for the 2019 World Cup qualifiers next March in Zimbabwe, this match will mark the formal start of the Cricket West Indies selection panel-s search — and Gayle is expected to be a key prong.
“I think Chris is good to go,” West Indies captain Jason Holder said on the eve of the match.
“I think the last game was more precautionary than anything else. He seems to be raring to go. It’s good to have him back. We hope we can have him for the duration of the series.”
Though Gayle celebrated his 38th birthday on the day of the Trent Bridge ODI, he gave a glimpse of his batting prowess in the Twenty20 International that preceded the ODI series and the first ODI too, so England will be wary of him.
“He definitely brings a lot to the team, a wealth of experience and his record speaks for itself,” said Holder, exhorting confidence in his side to draw level and eke out the results that would give them a rare series victory.
“There’s definitely still an opportunity to win the series,” he said. “We need to learn from that defeat at Old Trafford, but put it aside now, and take it step by step. We head into these last three games with full confidence.”
Holder also said that the players will play the game with the tragedy that has taken place in Dominica following the passage of Hurricane Maria.
“It’s obviously a very sad time,” he said. “Dominica has suffered so much damage. There were just recovering from the previous storm (Erika) and to be hit by another one of this magnitude is devastating. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people there.”
ENGLAND (from) — Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey and Chris Woakes.
WEST INDIES (from) — Jason Holder (captain), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins, Chris Gayle, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor and Kesrick Williams.