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Friday, July 19, 2024  
13 Muharram 1446  

T20 WC, Gayle, Sarwan key for Windies

T20 WC Gayle, Sarwan key for WindiesChris Gayle, West Indies' controversial captain of cool, and wingman Ramnaresh Sarwan will be key if the home side are to win the World Twenty20 and secure the West Indies first trophy in six years.
Gayle, who once admitted he'd be happy to see Twenty20 supplant Test cricket, is made for the smash and grab of the game's most revolutionary form.
The 30-year-old is only one of two men to have made a century in the format and the only one to have achieved the feat at the world championship.
He did it in some style, too, making a breath-taking 117 off 57 balls, which featured 10 sixes, against South Africa in the first match of the inaugural World Twenty in 2007.
But typical of the West Indies in recent years, they still lost the game by eight wickets.
Gayle has also made four half-centuries in his 14 T20 internationals and his big-hitting pyrotechnics have also made him a natural recruit for the Indian Premier League where he was playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
He leads a West Indies team and set-up which is a poor imitation of the all-conquering Caribbean sides of the 1970s and 1980s.
They recently defeated Zimbabwe 4-1 in a ODI series, their first such win for 20 months, but even that was achieved only after losing the opening game.
Sarwan, who preceded Gayle as national team captain, has featured in 11 Twenty20s with 201 runs at an average of 28.71.
But he goes into the April 30-May 16 World Twenty20 desperate to prove that the back injury, which cut short his tour of Australia earlier this year, has not dulled his competitive edge.
If anything, his absence from the squad seems only to have whetted his appetite as an unbeaten century against Canada in the recent Jamaica Festival seemed to prove.
"During the layoff I was able to do a lot of work and I'm feeling strong again," said the 29-year-old right-hander.
Like Gayle, who has played 85 Tests and 215 one-dayers, Sarwan is one of the West Indies most experienced players, having played 83 Tests and 154 ODIs.
"I played really well (against Canada where his 100 runs came off just 199 balls) but I know I still have improvements to make before we start the World T20 tournament," he added. "I want be more balanced at the crease and work more on shot selection."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2010

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