Cricket World Cup 2015

Holder coy over Gayle fitness

2015-03-20 07:32
Chris Gayle (AFP)

Wellington - West Indies captain Jason Holder remained coy on whether injured star batsman Chris Gayle will play in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against undefeated New Zealand.

Gayle trained for the first time this week on Friday morning, batting in the nets two days after receiving an injection in his lower back.

The injury forced him out of the West Indies' six-wicket win over the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, when they squeezed into the final eight despite their erratic form in pool games.

Holder said Gayle would face a late fitness test for Saturday's final eight clash in Wellington, the winner of which will face a rampant South Africa in the semi-finals.

"He's had an injection and a scan. The scan didn't show anything major, so we'll just see how he pulls up today and make a decision tomorrow morning," the skipper said.

Gayle, 35, scored the only double century in World Cup history with 215 against Zimbabwe in Canberra and is seen as crucial to the West Indies' chances of progressing into the last four.

But Holder insisted his team could win even without Gayle, pointing to the impressive 55 scored by Johnson Charles when he stepped in against the UAE.

"Obviously, (Gayle) has been a very good player for us over the years but we've shown we've got people to fit the bill," he said.

"Johnson came in the last game and got a half-century and looked the part. So we've got people to fill his boots but obviously having Chris there is a plus for us."

Holder acknowledged playing the undefeated New Zealanders in front of their home fans was a different prospect to facing the UAE, saying it was time to "go big or go home".

With the West Indies relishing their underdog status, Holder said he was looking for an aggressive but disciplined performance against Brendon McCullum's men.

"People pretty much wrote us off at the beginning of the tournament. "They didn't expect us to get to the quarter-final stage and now we're here," he said.

"We're just going out all guns blazing tomorrow and giving it our all.

"New Zealand can be beaten. We beat them in the last series when we played them and no doubt we will be looking to beat them tomorrow."


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