Chris Gayle shocked one and all by opting to decline selection for his side’s upcoming ODI series against India but skipper Jason Holder is backing the stalwart to turn out for the West Indies in the 2019 ICC World Cup in England.
The 39-year-old swashbuckling opener recently called time on his first-class career with a century for Jamaica in his final game. Holder, who is currently leading the Windies outfit in India, believes Gayle remains one of the most entertaining batsmen in world cricket currently.
“Chris is an all-star and I think it’s clear he’s probably at the back end of his career now. He’s probably tapering off a bit. I just saw him play his last List-A game for Jamaica, scoring a hundred against my home team, which is great to see. I enjoy having Chris around. I think he’s one of the most entertaining players in the world but his absence gives another player opportunity,” Holder was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“We have a limited time leading up to the World Cup and it’s a good option to see what we have in the tank, in terms of our pool of players, when one door closes another one opens and hopefully it’s an opportunity to see another young guy coming through,” the all-rounder added.
The World Cup might now only be eight months or so away but Holder is confident that Gayle will walk back into the ODI outfit once completely fit.
“He’s definitely going to play the World Cup once his body holds up and he’s fit. We’d welcome him into the team. If you go back to the beginning of the year, Chris made himself available for the World Cup Qualifiers,” said Holder.
“He only did that really because he wants to play the World Cup, he wants to play well for West Indies and he wants to do well.”
Gayle has so far played a whopping 284 ODIs for the West Indies, scoring 9,727 runs at an average of over 38 with the help of 23 tons.
Prithvi Shaw’s electric start to his international Test career has seen the youngster earn rave reviews from former and current players alike.
The Mumbai batsman’s free flowing game has seen him being compared to Virender Sehwag, one of the finest Test openers produced by the country.
However, Sehwag’s former India and Delhi opening partner Gautam Gambhir believes such comparisons are premature.
“He (Shaw) is impressive, very talented – that is why he is there. He started his Test career on a very good note but there will be far bigger and far difficult challenges awaiting him,” Gambhir was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.
“Whoever is comparing needs to think before doing that. He (Shaw) has just started his career and there is a long way to go. I have never believed in comparisons. He has his own individuality and Sehwag has his own. He has played one match and Sehwag over 100 Tests,” the former India opener added.
While Shaw is creating a big buzz with a rollicking start to his Test career, another youngster Rishabh Pant too has caught the eye with his performances.
The wicketkeeper batsman smashed a quick-fire 92 in the first Test against the West Indies and his attacking approach has seen increased calls for him to replace a struggling MS Dhoni in the limited-overs setup.
According to Gambhir, India’s wicketkeeping slot should go to the most in-form player.
“There’s never been a right time or a wrong time. It really depends on the combination, and ultimately it is performance that will keep you in the side. If MS continues to do well, he should be playing but if someone else does well, that’s where it has got to be,” Gambhir stated.
Steve Smith is just halfway through serving his one-year ban from international cricket but former Australia wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist is backing him to retake the captaincy of the men’s team in the future.
Smith, along with his deputy David Warner, was served with a one-year ban from international and domestic cricket by Cricket Australia following the ball-tampering episode which occurred in Cape Town earlier this year.
The former Australia skipper was handed a further 12-month ban from any leadership role with the team for his misdemeanours. Many have speculated that the batsman will never get a leadership with the Australian team again but Gilchrist believes that the 29-year-old has every chance to become skipper once more.
“I don’t think it’s out of the question that Steve Smith could possibly captain Australia again one day,” the Australia great was quoted as saying by foxsports.com.au.
“He’s young enough and if he wants to play long enough, there’s every chance. Wouldn’t that be an amazing story of redemption.
“We all understood that he’s shown his remorse and his disappointment in himself and the damage that came out of that incident. Who knows down the track but it’s a long way off.”
Despite being out of action from international cricket since the end of March this year, Smith continues to rank high in the ICC Rankings for Test batsmen. The Aussie is currently in second place in the latest Test rankings, just one rating point behind India skipper Virat Kohli.