Chris Gayle, the T20 cricket sensation and former West Indies star, has been named captain of the West Indies Champions for the upcoming World Championship of Legends 2024. This thrilling competition, set to begin on July 3rd in Birmingham, UK, promises to be a memorable event for cricket fans around the globe. Gayle is an ambassador for the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup being staged in the West Indies and USA.

Ajay Sethi, Chairman of Channel 2 Group Corporation, has taken ownership of the West Indies Champions franchise, bringing a new level of excitement and anticipation to the league. “I am thrilled to be part of the World Championship of Legends and to lead the West Indies Champions,” Sethi stated. “This league is a fantastic opportunity to unite some of the greatest cricket talents and provide fans with a nostalgic yet thrilling experience.”

Joining Gayle on the team are cricket greats Dwayne Smith, Samuel Badree, and Daren Sammy, making the West Indies Champions a formidable force in the tournament. Gayle expressed his excitement about leading the team, saying, “I look forward to rejoining my family in our quest to win the cup. It’s a delight to play more matches in prestigious tournaments like the World Championship of Legends and reconnect with our fans through this exciting format.”

The World Championship of Legends, approved by the England and Wales Cricket Board, will feature six prestigious franchises: India Champions, Australia Champions, England Champions, Pakistan Champions, South Africa Champions, and West Indies Champions.

Fans can expect an unforgettable experience with cricketing legends like Yuvraj Singh, Brett Lee, Kevin Pietersen, Jacques Kallis, Shahid Afridi, and Chris Gayle showing off the skills that made them champions of the sport.

 West Indies have enjoyed somewhat of a storming start to their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign, but it’s safe to say those victories over minnows Papua New Guinea and Uganda were always expected.

Though a bit shaky in a five-wicket win over Papua New Guinea in their Group C opener, West Indies backed that victory up with a convincing 134-run beating of newcomers Uganda. However, the Caribbean side will be hopeful of a better second half to the group stages, as they now have New Zealand to contend with, and Afghanistan to follow.

With four points already to their credit and New Zealand yet to get on the board, the Darren Sammy-coached West Indies is targeting another win, which would guarantee them a spot in the Super Eight, and basically eliminate the Black Caps.

A record crowd is anticipated for the encounter, scheduled to play under lights at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, in Trinidad and Tobago, on Wednesday.

While acknowledging that it will be an exciting challenge, West Indies captain Rovman Powell believes it is also an opportunity for his team to showcase the class and form that they have enjoyed over the past 15 months.

During that time, the now number-four ranked West Indies registered 2-1, 3-2 and 3-2 series wins over South Africa, India and England respectively, before losing 1-2 to Australia. Prior to the World Cup they swept South Africa 3-0 at Sabina Park.

"We are pretty confident; the boys been playing some very good cricket, and we know New Zealand will pose different challenge from our first two opponents. But having said that, once we just focus on ourselves and play good cricket, we should be okay,” Powell told journalists at a pre-game press conference on Tuesday.

"If you should look on the last year, the last twelve or 14 months, West Indies have played very good T20 cricket. So it's just a continuation of us doing that, even though it's a World Cup, the guys have done a lot of hard work coming into this World Cup, so hopefully we can show that hard work. It's two of the more traditional nations, Afghanistan and New Zealand, but I think once we focus on ourselves, we should be okay,” he added.

Given that New Zealand succumbed to a heavy 84-run defeat to Afghanistan, in a contest where they were bowled out for 75 runs, Powell said it signals some semblance of vulnerability in the opponents’ form and, as such, he and his team are looking to capitalise.

"If there's a good time to play New Zealand, I think it's definitely now. They're a little bit undercooked and the pressure is really on them because this game decides whether they go on or not. But, we're not focusing on New Zealand, we're focusing on what we have to do, and once we do what we have to do, then that will take care of itself,” Powell noted.

That said, the Jamaican once again declared their intentions to possibly secure an unprecedented third T20 World Cup title. West Indies won the 2012 and 2016 tournaments in Sri Lanka and India, and Powell is optimistic that they can now secure a title home soil, a feat he said would mean more to cricket in the region that just one more trophy.

“When you look on the benefits of playing a World Cup at home for West Indies cricket, it's an enormous benefit. If we should go on and win the World Cup, it would make us the first team to win a T20 World Cup at home. From a financial standpoint, it (hosting) boosts West Indies cricket economy, and is beneficial for so much different islands to be getting international cricket of such good standards, so that in itself is a beneficial factor,” Powell reasoned.

“For us as players, it's an opportunity for us to cement our space in West Indies cricket folklore, and winning a World Cup on home soil, not just myself as captain, but all the guys, will be remembered for such achievement.

"But those expectations are on the back of us playing good T20 cricket, which has resulted in us being ranked number four in the world now, and it's for us to continue to manage those expectations. I think the guys have done that, we are at home, so obviously expectations and pressure is always there, but it's just for us to keep on playing good cricket and keep on entertaining the fans,” he ended. 

Much like West Indies Head coach Darren Sammy did recently, all-rounder Roston Chase stressed the need for the Caribbean side to not only up their game, but to also remain grounded as they prepare to face newcomers Uganda in their second ICC Men’s T20 World Cup encounter on Saturday.

Chase, who posted an unbeaten 27-ball 42 which propelled West Indies to a five-wicket win over Papua New Guinea in their Group C opener last week, concurred with Sammy that the win was too close for comfort, as they surpassed their target with a solitary over to spare.

Sammy in that post-game assessment, warned his team against complacency against perceived lesser opponents, especially given the number of upsets in the tournament so far, the latest of which came on Friday when Afghanistan hammered New Zealand by 80 runs.

As such, Afghanistan head Group C standings on four points, two ahead of West Indies and Uganda on two points each, with New Zealand and Papua New Guinea yet to get on the board. Uganda also bettered Papua New Guinea in a low-scoring affair.

With that in mind, Chase is well aware that West Indies will require a more efficient execution under the lights at the Guyana National Stadium, as Uganda has nothing to lose heading into the encounter.

“I just think that it’s a World Cup, so you can’t underestimate any team. Every team is as strong as any other team – but I just think for us, it’s a case where we have to improve our dot-ball percentage, especially in the middle overs,” he told journalists during a pre-match news conference on the eve of the game.