LONDON, CMC – West Indies captain Jason Holder hopes to have talismanic opener Chris Gayle available to the Caribbean side for a while yet, following his positive contributions on and off the field in the ongoing five-match One-Day International series.
Veteran Gayle struck an entertaining half-century in his second one-day innings on Sunday following a two-year break, as West Indies went under by 124 runs to England in the third One-Day International in Bristol.
Holder said Gayle had brought his many years of experience to bear positively on the squad and said this knowledge would continue to be valuable to the Caribbean side going forward.
“He is always a relaxed guy but if you go to him you would be surprised the amount of information you get from him,” Holder told reporters.
“I have been privy to having some chats with him in the last few days and it has been wonderful. He shared a lot of information that has helped me out a lot on the field.”
He continued: “It’s really good to have a guy like him on the field playing for you. Hopefully his body would allow him to carry on a lot longer and we can have him in the dressing room for a longer period.”
Prior to the current series Gayle had not played an ODI for West Indies since the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand because of Cricket West Indies controversial eligibility rules.
With CWI relaxing those rules, however, Gayle became available for selection and has had an almost instant impact.
He struck 40 from 21 balls in the one-off T20 a week ago and also sparkled briefly in the opening ODI at Old Trafford last Tuesday when he made 37 from 27 balls.
On Sunday, he narrowly missed out on his 23rd ODI hundred when he made 94 from 78 deliveries.
More importantly he put on 64 for the second wicket with Shai Hope (20) and a further 67 for the fourth wicket with Jason Mohammed (38), in helping to rebuild the Windies run chase.
His unfortunate run out in the 27th over led to the Windies decline as they lost their last seven wickets for 69 runs to be all out for 245.
“It was a special innings, credit must go to him. He really got us off to a very good start and not only did he give us the start we wanted but he carried on and batted into the innings,” Holder noted.
“That was important for us. The longer he stays out there the more England fear. Unfortunately he got run out at that stage. We would have loved him to have gone on for a few more overs and the guys just supported him. Probably the game would have been a lot different.”
England had earlier piled up an imposing 369 for nine off their 50 overs, with Moeen Ali striking 102 off 57 balls.