Windies star Chris Gayle expressed his delight at being provided the opportunity to represent his nation for the fifth World Cup in a row.
The southpaw confessed that he had considered retirement a couple of years ago but the support of the fans drove him to play on.
“Honestly [I do it for] the fans, I am not going to lie. Maybe a couple of years ago the thought did cross [that I have had enough],” he said to Press Trust of India.
“Then the fans came out and said ‘don’t go’. They actually drive me to go on. I know nothing lasts forever and hopefully, I can give them a few more games and it also pushes you to win the World Cup.
“Never really considered thinking about it but time does fly quickly,” Gayle said.
“I could never dream of playing so many World Cups but it has happened. It shows consistency in the career.
“That keeps you going and earn a lot of praise. Hard work in the last couple of has years paid off. People want to see you more and you are trying to deliver as much as possible.
“We have seen changes [in the cricket board] in the last couple of months,” he said.
After several players were involved in the altercations with the board, things have steadied down in the past few months and Gayle is hopeful of a positive rebuilding phase.
“Hopefully, the new team gets it right, gets the structure in place. Cricket is the most important thing for the Caribbean. Hope they take the game to where it is supposed to be.
“It will take time, of course. Lot of things need to be rebuilt. On the field, we had a good series against England, now the World Cup is coming up and that is another opportunity for us to turn things around.”
Mark Wood hopes he and fellow paceman Jofra Archer can “ruffle a few feathers” together as England prepare to field one of the quickest new ball pairings in their one-day history.
Wood will make his first competitive appearance in more than two months in Friday’s fourth one-day international against Pakistan in an effort to stake his claim for a World Cup spot, finally deemed ready for action after familiar concerns over his left ankle.
The 29-year-old has been kept on the shelf ever since a transformational tour of the West Indies, during which he hit fierce speeds touching 95mph.
Archer has arrived on the scene in the intervening weeks and has worked up his own head of steam, nudging 94mph during his first three caps, and the sight of the pair working in tandem is a tantalising one.
It will become a reality at Trent Bridge, with both men in an XI missing banned captain Eoin Morgan and rested trio Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes.
“It’ll be good to have two pace lads in at the same time and to see if we can really ruffle a few feathers,” said Wood.
“For any team, two fast bowlers tends to be rare, so it will be good to play in the same team. It will be nice to bounce off him, see what plans he has. It will be nice to see how he works and hopefully watch him from fine-leg bowling rockets.
“He has natural raw pace whereas I feel I have to bust a gut to get it up there. It’s just so natural and that’s exciting for English cricket.
“He’s definitely he’s right up there among the best in the world for pace so it will be interesting to bowl alongside him. It will be interesting to see how far back the wicketkeeper stands for him and me!”
Wood appeared relaxed about his fitness, insisting his elongated lay-off owed more to caution from the management and inclement weather than a genuinely worrying injury.
He has taken to bowling double spells in the nets, 12 overs rather than his usual six, but is eager to test himself back in the middle.
“It’s been a long time and every time I’ve tried to get a match in it’s rained,” he said.
“It would’ve been nice to play for Durham (before England), and that was the plan to just get back in the swing of things. The cards have fallen a different way and that’s the way it is.
“Trevor Bayliss (head coach) said that he wanted me ready for the World Cup not for Durham, and there was no point in rushing it straightaway, which was a nice feeling actually. But you never take for granted playing for England so I’ll be giving it my best shot. I’m doing plenty of running, plenty in the gym, just general ticking over the body to make sure I’m ready to go.”
Jos Buttler will lead the team in Morgan’s absence, which came about as a result of overseeing slow over-rates, and Wood has warned the stand-in not to fall foul of the same regulation.
“The only difference is rather than the captain coming up to you from extra cover the wicketkeeper will be running all the way down the wicket and back, so we’ll have to watch that over-rate again,” he said.
“Obviously Eoin is a big loss because he’s our captain, our leader, but I’m sure Jos can do just as well.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
When it comes to ICC tournaments, there are only a handful of players who can have as much as an impact as Shikhar Dhawan.
No player has scored more runs in the last three ICC tournaments than Dhawan, who managed to garner 1113 runs across 18 innings.
The fact that two of those were held in England – the venue of the 2019 World Cup – makes a case for why the left-handed batsman can wreak havoc yet again.
Dhawan confirmed that he’s confident of yet another successful ICC tournament and the passion is unchanged from the last time he took to the crease.
“People tell me about my record in ICC events, but frankly speaking, the intent has always been the same. It’s not that the effort is less than 100 per cent ever,” Dhawan told Press Trust of India. “The focus as always is on the process. I am confident that I will have another good ICC tournament.
“Mera jazbaa aaj bhi utni hi hai [My passion is still the same as it was when I started]. I have shut out negativity, primarily because I am a happy-go-lucky person.
“Before I made my Test debut, I had played nearly nine years of first-class cricket. Had I not been passionate and hungry, I couldn’t have performed for India after nine years of domestic cricket. Now I have played six years of international cricket. It has been a great journey.”