Illness leaves Gayle in doubt for Christchurch ODI


Chris Gayle could be a doubtful starter for West Indies’ second ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch on Saturday. The opener scored 22 in Wednesday’s first ODI in Whangarei, and did not field during New Zealand’s innings. New Zealand won the match by five wickets.

“He took ill,” West Indies coach Stuart Law said after the match, when asked why Gayle hadn’t taken the field. “He’s going to seek further medical advice once we arrive in Christchurch tomorrow. At this point in time I can’t give you any further details of what’s going on.”

Law did not divulge any details of Gayle’s illness. “I’m not a doctor,” he said. “I can’t give you any more, so I apologise. We should get a full appraisal tomorrow.”

Sent in to bat, West Indies posted a total of 248-9, which New Zealand overhauled with four overs to spare. Law said conditions changed significantly through the course of the match, and that New Zealand had won an important toss.

“We would have liked to have bowled first as well,” he said. “Whether or not the wicket got damp through the covers … it was certainly a tackiness to the surface when the game started.

“I looked at it half-time and it was bone dry. You would have liked an even contest, not taking anything away from New Zealand at all. We saw our opening batters – they’re pretty good strikers of a cricket ball – they were having trouble locating it, which means the wicket was doing something. We didn’t see that this afternoon.”

Gayle and Evin Lewis put on 40 in 10.1 overs for the first wicket. Lewis went on to score 76 off 100 balls. Law felt his dismissal in the 36th over – an lbw that replays suggested was wrongly given, when West Indies had run out of reviews – was a turning point, given his shot-making skills and those of Rovman Powell, with whom he 43 in just 31 balls. 

“He [Lewis] was circumspect with the deliveries he attacked. He’s a wonderful striker of a cricket ball,” Law said. “Today he wasn’t able to be as free as he would’ve liked but he showed some class. He showed the ability to get through some really tough times, to build an innings, and then unfortunately given out lbw when he was set, ready to continue that partnership with Rovman Powell. 

“Those two can score very quickly once they get going and 15-20 an over is not out of the question with those two.” (ESPNCricinfo)

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