Manchester - West Indies captain Jason Holder has backed the returning Chris Gayle
to make a big impact in the one-day international (ODI) series against
England starting this week.
Tuesday's fixture at Old Trafford, the first of a five-match ODI
series, is set to be powerhouse opening batsman Gayle's first at this
level since the 2015 World Cup - where he made the first double century
in the competition's history, smashing a blistering 215 against
Zimbabwe in Canberra.
A protracted dispute with Cricket West Indies chiefs kept the
37-year-old Jamaica left-hander on the sidelines of the international
game for more than two years.
But he returned to Twenty20 international action on his home ground of Sabina Park, Kingston, in July.
And he showed he had lost none of his ability to score rapidly with a
blazing 40 off 21 balls as World Twenty20 champions West Indies beat
England by 21 runs in the lone Twenty20 of their tour at
Chester-le-Street on Saturday.
Gayle has scored more than 9,000 runs, including 22 hundreds, in 269 ODIs at a strike rate of 85.11.
Holder welcomed his impending return to the ODI format by telling
reporters at Old Trafford on Monday: "It's obviously a huge boost. The
calibre of player Chris is, you can expect really good things from
"He showed some form in the T20 game and had some good form in our
CPL (Caribbean Premier League) competition recently concluded," the
"I'm really looking forward to having him back. He seems up for the
challenge, he seems upbeat and really happy to be back. I'm looking
forward to good things from Chris."
Holder, not in the Twenty20
squad after leading West Indies in a 2-1 Test series loss to England
earlier in the tour, said his side could take some confidence from a win
at Chester-le-Street, where they overcame cold and wet conditions to
record a convincing victory over England in a repeat of last year's
World Twenty20 final in Kolkata.
"That (Saturday's) result should give is a bit of momentum, albeit a T20 game," said Holder.
"We are professional athletes, we know what to expect here in English
conditions. A few of the guys have played here before, a few played the
T20 game coming into this one."
The Barbados all-rounder added: "From all reports it was difficult in
Durham with the wet outfield but it's something we've grown to expect
and you've just got to adapt and adjust to it."
West Indies will need to win the upcoming series either 5-0 or 4-0
with a tie or a no-result if they are to gain direct entry into the 2019
World Cup in England.
A failure to do so would mean West Indies, the 1975 and 1979 World
Cup winners, cannot overtake Sri Lanka, currently eighth in the ODI
Only the top seven sides, apart from hosts England, currently fourth,
as of September 30 will qualify directly for the 50-over showpiece
event in 2019.
Teams that do not gain direct entry will get another shot through a qualifying tournament.
"The guys are up for the challenge. We've obviously got some new
faces coming back into the side and it's exciting times for our
cricket," said Holder.
"We are still at a stage where we are looking to rebuild and
hopefully these guys coming back can bring a lot of experience and
expertise to what we are doing."