Chris Gayle Backs Windies To Win Third T20 Title

(CMC)— Two-time winner Chris Gayle said West Indies can win the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup for the third time this year despite their failures in the past two editions of the tournament.

The 44-year-old, self-proclaimed “Universe Boss” played a huge role in revolutionising the format with his big hitting and played a major part in the Caribbean side winning the title in 2012 and 2016.

He said recent results from the current side under the guidance of head coach Daren Sammy, the captain of the two champion sides, and the leadership of fellow Jamaican Rovman Powell were encouraging.

“We have a good team, a good all-round team, and I believe we can do it again and make it three World Cup victories for the West Indies,” he said during a promotional event this past week in Barbados.

“I like what I see in the team. I would like to see them go all the way like we did against Sri Lanka in 2012 in Sri Lanka and 2016 against England in India,” he added.

West Indies managed only one win in the 2021 T20 World Cup in Oman and the United Arab Emirates, which marked the end of Gayle’s distinguished international career, and failed to qualify for the main draw at the 2022 tournament in Australia.

But they have found a spark over the past 12 months – winning series against South Africa on the road, and India and England on home soil – and Gayle felt it was a sign of bigger things to come in the global showpiece in June.

“We have some brilliant players in the team, and I was really impressed with the way they beat England on home soil last year. You could see the chemistry and true self-belief, and you could also see togetherness and readiness from a team point of view,” Gayle said.

“Even though we didn’t win (the series) in Australia recently, we played a good brand of cricket – we scored over 200 runs every time we batted,” he continued.

Gayle, the leading scorer for West Indies in the T20I format, said he expected former white-ball captain Nicholas Pooran and globe-trotting all-rounder Andre Russell to be pivotal to the Caribbean side’s chances of winning the tournament.

“I’m a fan of Nicholas Pooran, and I believe he will be ‘our batsman’ for the tournament,” he said. “It’s also good to see Andre Russell back in the team – he’s a two-time World Cup winner and he brings great skills and loads of experience to this team,” he stated.

Gayle was speaking during a promotional event to make the countdown to 100 days to go to the tournament, which will be played from June 1 to 29 in six countries in the Caribbean and three cities in the United States.

He was specially invited to the event, which was staged at Freedom Park in Golden Square in the heart of the Barbados capital of Bridgetown, and he was a full participant, dancing with costumed revellers, signing autographs, taking photos, and playing dominoes.