Talisman Gayle in Aussies crosshairs, says skipper Finch

NOTTINGHAM, England, CMC – Australia captain Aaron Finch said yesterday his side would be planning to target West Indies talisman Chris Gayle early on, when the two teams clashed in their respective second outings of the ICC World Cup here today.

The left-handed Gayle is the Caribbean side’s most experienced batsman with 10, 201 runs from 290 One-Day Internationals with 25 hundreds, and is one of the most feared batsmen in international cricket.

“I think when you come up against someone as dangerous as Chris, you have to be prepared, like I said before, that he’s going to hit boundaries,” Finch told a media conference.

“So it’s about trying to attack his weaknesses early and making sure that we’re putting the ball in the areas that we want to be bowling. I think if … you second-guess yourself, if you’re a bit tentative, if you’re a bit nervous with the ball in hand, he’ll get all over you, and once he’s going, he’s so hard to stop.

“So I think it’s important that you come prepared to take the contest to him because he definitely does that the other way.”

Gayle has been in superb form of recent, plundering 424 runs in his last ODI series against England earlier this year. He also sparkled in the opening World Cup opener against Pakistan with exactly 50 off 34 balls as West Indies won handsomely.

For all his career success, however, Gayle has never scored a ODI hundred against Australia and averages only 26 from 31 matches against the reigning World champions.

Though aware of these statistics, Finch said Australia would not be lured into a false sense of security.

“I think the West Indies aren’t a side that we tend to play year in, year out. Those stats would be over a really long period of time,” Finch explained.

“So it’s hard to put a definite reason why [Gayle averages so low] because you might play two games here, and with some injuries that Chris has had the last time that they played in Australia was a few years ago. He played the first two and then didn’t play the rest of the series. He had a back issue.

“So it’s tough to put something right on it, to say this is the reason why [he has not done as well against Australia]. It’s just it comes down to some good planning, no doubt, but also one or two games here and there over a long period of time. It probably doesn’t give you a full picture, either.”

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