Chris Gayle back for West Indies in one-day international series

August 22, 2017

Superstar opening batsman Chris Gayle is back for the West Indies, following the naming of the squad to play England in the one-day international series next month. 

Gayle will be joined by all-rounder Marlon Samuels as the men from the Caribbean have the opportunity to field a much more competitive team in the five matches than they are doing in the Test series. 

Fans booking corporate hospitality for the match at the Kia Oval may particularly look forward to seeing the big-hitting Gayle, whose innings at the venue include his blistering 105 from just 87 balls in the 2004 Test match. 

The decision of star players like Gayle, Samuels and Darren Bravo to play in the Indian Premier league meant they missed domestic games and thus were ineligible for selection in the Test or 50-over sides. The result of this weakening has been a string of bad results in  both formats, with the Test team now eighth in the ICC rankings and hammered in the first Test at Edgbaston this week, while the one-day side failed to qualify for this year's ICC Champions Trophy. The selectors have decided to implement an amnesty for those who had previously made themselves ineligible.

When the West Indies have been at full strength in white-ball cricket, the outcome has been dramatically different. Gayle and Samuels were part of the team that won the ICC World T20 title in India last year, with the side's mighty hitting ensuring that even a requirement of 19 in the final over against England was not beyond them.

Although Carlos Brathwaite, who hammered four sixes from Ben Stokes in that unforgettable over, is not included, Samuels was the man who played the match-winning innings and his duel with Stokes will add plenty of spice to the encounter.

The pair have plenty of history following the England Test tour of the West Indies in 2015, when Samuels responded to some on-field verbals by saluting and holding his cap across his chest when Stokes was caught in the deep trying to hit his adversary for six. This memorable celebration was followed by more harsh words from Samuels after the T20 final, so there may be plenty more fun and games when the pair meet again. 

Sunil Narine and Bravo were also in the running to play, but declined to be included. Narine wanted to play some domestic 50-over cricket before being considered for selection, while Bravo is not fully fit. 

The West Indies will play Ireland in Belfast before the series, with the Kia Oval featuring the fourth match on September 27th.

England will hope they can gain a major psychological advantage beforehand by adding two more Test victories to their Edgbaston win. The majority of the West Indian one-day squad overlaps with the Test squad and this means the likes of Shai and Kyle Hope, captain Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph will hope they can perform better at Headingley later this week and at Lord's early next month. 

Headingley has been a tough place for the West Indies in recent years. In 2007 they suffered their heaviest ever Test defeat and in 2000 they were beaten by an innings in just two days, the shortest Test match by duration in England since the Second World War.

Image: Getty, from Keith Prowse subscription

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