Gayle at three is for spinners’ match-up- West Indies Assistant Coach
West Indies Assistant Coach, Roddy Estwick has revealed that the team’s unsuccessful persistence with Chris Gayle at number three has to do with their plans of combating the opposition’s spinners.
Chris Gayle, prior to Tuesday’s match against South Africa, which the West Indies lost, had 14,249 runs in Twenty20 cricket, of which 1,867 has come in Internationals.
The majority of those exploits came with Gayle opening the batting.
In 2021, he started batting at three for West Indies, and in 15 innings, he averages 16.21 with the best score of 67 and has a strike rate of 114.64.
On the flip side, in 56 innings in the opening position he has an average over 30, a strike rate over 140, two centuries – both at the World T20- and 13 half-centuries.
“If I gave you the answer to that question, the press would have a field day and it would be all over the press saying Roddy Estwick said this and Roddy Estwick said that. We asked Chris to do a role and Chris is very experienced,” he stated in response to a question from News Room Sport.
“If you look at a lot of the teams, they want to bowl their leg-spinners and we felt at number three gives him a chance to have a match-up against the spin attack,” the Barbadian added.
The Assistant Coach underscored that Gayle has been a “wonderful servant” of West Indies cricket and he adds a lot in the dressing to the younger players, noting “there is a lot more in the dressing room he offers.”
“There is a lot of roles that Chris has to play within the team so just don’t look at the performance. In the past, he has done well at the World Cup level and I am sure before the tournament is done, he will do well again.”
Prior to the tournament, Head Coach, Phil Simmons, has revealed that Gayle will be entrusted with specific roles for the West Indies.
In the side’s opening humiliation at the hands of England, Gayle top-scored with a run-a-ball 13.
A notable omission from the playing XI was the in-form Roston Chase, which meant southpaw Akeal Hosein was the main spinner.
Estwick highlighted that Gayle also presents a spin option, albeit he has only bowled on six occasions for West Indies since the World T20 in 2016.
On those six occasions, he has bowled 9.2 overs, going for 56 runs and taking two wickets.
Gayle’s position in the squad, more so, the playing XI, has been a point of discussion by many pundits and former international players.
However, team management has openly stated that Gayle’s presence is due to much more than just numbers.