Chris Gayle provides fireworks in apparent West Indies ODI farewell

By Sports Desk August 14, 2019

Chris Gayle scored a typically brutal half-century in what looked set to be his final ODI appearance for West Indies.

Three days after he overtook Brian Lara to become West Indies' record run-scorer in the format, Gayle flayed India's bowlers for a 41-ball 72 in Port of Spain.

Boundaries accounted for 62 of the runs from the tall left-hander, who hit eight fours and five sixes in a crowd-pleasing innings.

It came to a tame end when he looked to play another big shot against Khaleel Ahmed, who had come in for early punishment.

Rather than find the ropes again, Gayle picked out India captain Virat Kohli at mid off and the catch was safely taken.

Gayle, whose match shirt carried the number 301 to signify his number of ODI appearances, was surrounded by well-wishing Indian fielders after his innings ended.

He chose to play on after West Indies' disappointing Cricket World Cup performance, despite saying in March he had played his final home ODIs.

But the 39-year-old signalled this would be his last ODI series, and if he stays true to that decision it will leave him free to concentrate on a lucrative T20 franchise career.

India's players offered what appeared to be warm words to Gayle, who walked off in a theatrical manner with his bat raised, his maroon batting helmet balanced on its top.

West Indies and India were contesting the final match in their three-game ODI series and, besides the attention on Gayle, there was plenty to play for.

The first was abandoned due to rain, before India won the second match that, like Wednesday's contest, was also played in Port of Spain.

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    West Indies legend Sir Vivian Richards believes veteran T20 player Kieron Pollard would make a better option for team captain than current skipper Carlos Brathwaite.

    The 31-year-old Brathwaite was named captain of the squad in 2016, following the controversial dismal of World Cup-winning captain Darren Sammy and his heroics against England in the final.  The Barbadian has, however, struggled since taking charge of the unit, winning just 11 and losing 17 of his matches in charge of the team for a 36 percent win rate.

    Despite being out of the squad for a couple of years, Pollard has continued to be one of the game’s most reliable players, recently returning to score 115 in a three-match series against India.  The Windies, however, lost the series 3-0.

    “Given his experience in that format, I would have liked to see Kieron Pollard as the best choice for our T20 captain. But he is not, for there are some reasons for that. During the CPL, he is the best with the bat and his fielding talent,” Richards recently told the India Times.

    “There is no disrespect to Carlos Brathwaite, but he probably would have been part of the team still. It was a political scenario after Darren Sammy exited the captaincy. Brathwaite is magnificent as an individual and highly competitive, but I know a lot of players in that team who believe Pollard would have been a great choice as captain.”

     

     

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