Gayle returns as West Indies aim for ODI series win
Having gone down fighting in the Test series, West Indies would be looking to make amends win the inclusion of their talisman Chris Gayle in the ODI series as they take on England in the 1st of three ODIs at Southampton.
The men from Caribbean displayed immense inconsistency in the Test series as they fought bravely in the first Test, surrendered in the second and again rose from the Ashes to display a splendid performance. The focus now moves on to the shorter formats of the game. They will lock horns in a three-match ODI series and a one-off T20 against the hosts. The visitors have been in good ODI and T20I form of late. They managed to draw their previous T20I and ODI series against an ominous side like Australia at home. Their performance was splendid especially in the ODIs as they managed to finish ahead of the Kangaroos by 15 points on the Castrol Index. Ahead of the ODI series, the have received a huge shot in the arm as Chris Gayle returns to the side after resolving “residual” issues with the West Indies Cricket Board. He has been in cracking form of late having finished the highest run-getter and subsequently as the Index topper in the recently concluded Indian T20 League. His addition will not only add strength to their struggling top order but also add experience to the side.
Lendl Simmons has been recalled to the squad too. The pace department will be spearheaded by Ravi Rampaul who has hugely impressed with his disciplined line and length. Their trump card would be Sunil Narine who has bamboozled the batsmen with his mystery spinners. Their middle and lower order looks dangerous with the likes of in-form Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell. They look a pretty balanced side. Gayle and Sammy will be the biggest threats for England.
England performed satisfactorily to outclass the men from Caribbean in the Test series. They too have been in good ODI form of late having thrashed Pakistan 4-0 in the UAE. It was a resounding performance considering the fact that they were hammered 3-0 in the Test series against Pakistan. But this time around, they will be without their talisman Kevin Pietersen who recently announced his retirement from the shorter formats of the game.
Alaistar Cook will lead the team and will most probably open alongside Ian Bell who has been recalled to the ODIs. The players who will need to prove their worth would be Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan. Jonny Bairstow had a poor outing in the Tests, but he is better in the shorter formats of the game. The pace department will be lead by James Anderson followed by Stuart Broad. Anderson is currently one of the best swing bowlers in the international scene and he was brilliant in the Test series too. They too have a pretty balanced side.
With Gayle back in the team, West Indies look much more ominous and with the likes of Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell in their ranks, West Indies have an upper hand going into the series.