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West Indies captain backs big-hitting Chris Gayle to deliver

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DUBAI: Chris Gayle has joined the West Indies for their title defence in the Twenty20 World Cup and skipper Kieron Pollard backs the big-hitter to come good in the United Arab Emirates.

The self-styled ‘Universe Boss’ left the Indian Premier League in the UAE due to ‘bubble fatigue’ after months of franchise and international cricket during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Living in bubbles is difficult. If a guy who enjoys himself in any situation can’t take it, it shows how difficult it can be for some of us,” said Pollard. “We are backing him to do well.”

The 42-year-old Gayle will be among the oldest players in the competition when West Indies begin their campaign against England on Saturday in the Super 12 stage.

He is just 97 runs away from overtaking Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene (1,016) as the highest run-getter in the T20 showpiece event.

But Pollard insists Gayle is not after records but winning games and titles for the team.

“No words to describe what he has done. The guy with the most number of runs and most sixes,” said Pollard. “The fear that he instills in bowlers when he is standing at the opposite end. The main goal for us and for him in conversation is trying to win a World Cup and defend the title. He is looking forward to that.”

Fast bowler Dwayne Bravo will be another key player for West Indies having won the IPL with Chennai Super Kings on Friday.

Bravo remained Chen­nai’s death bowling star and Pollard expects another strong show from the 38-year-old all-rounder.

“I think he has shown time and again what he brings to any team,” Pollard said.

“For Chennai to go on and win was a fabulous team effort, and for him personally to continue doing what he does at the backend, to close out matches for his team was superb.

“The form that he has shown in the IPL, he can come here with no pressure and do well for us.”

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2021

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