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Gayle returns to West Indies squad for England ODIs

ST LUCIA: West Indies recalled veteran batsman Chris Gayle on Thursday for the first two one-day internationals (ODI) against England in preparation for this year’s World Cup.

The hard-hitting, 39-year-old Gayle last played for West Indies during a home series against Bangladesh last July, and could renew an explosive opening partnership alongside Evin Lewis.

Lewis and Gayle both missed the recent ODI series in India and Bangladesh but have been included as part of a 14-man squad that saw left-handed batsman Nicholas Pooran called up for the first time.

West Indies and England will contest five one-dayers following the conclusion of the Test series, in which the hosts hold an unassailable 2-0 lead ahead of the finale in St Lucia on Saturday.

“As we continue our cricket World Cup preparations, the upcoming series against the top ranked ODI side is a great opportunity for us to gauge where we are as a team,” said West Indies chairman of selectors Courtney Browne.

“This allows us to identify any areas that need addressing relating to selection and also helps the coaching staff to fine tune their game strategy.”

Gayle holds the West Indian record for most ODI hundreds with 23, and is their second-leading runscorer in the 50-over format with 9,727 runs -- trailing only Brian Lara (10,405). His 215 against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup also represents the highest limited-overs score by a West Indies batsman.

“We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series and Ashley Nurse from injury. We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI cricket for the first time,” said Browne.

“He is clearly a young player with undoubted talent and we believe he can add value to our middle order.”

Browne said fast bowler Shannon Gabriel would be considered for later in the series, although experienced batsman Marlon Samuels is unavailable due to a knee injury.

Batting failure

England must prepare their batsmen to handle different types of pitches and not just complain about unfamiliar tracks if they are to be more consistent overseas, spinner Jack Leach has said.

England suffered a 10-wicket defeat to the West Indies in the second Test last week as their batsmen struggled to cope with the variable bounce on a green Antigua wicket, managing scores of 187 and 132 in two innings.

That display followed another batting failure in the first Test at Barbados, where the tourists were bundled out for 77 and 246 to lose by 381 runs on a flat wicket.

“We need to challenge people to be better at cricket rather than complain about pitches,” left-arm spinner Leach, who missed the first two Tests, told British media.

“We need players to experience different surfaces. “I don’t know if that comes from the top or the counties, but it’s a big thing. There are very few times where you spend 150 overs in the field and it’s a batting paradise.”

Leach, who has honed his skills on a Taunton pitch that offers turn, picked up 18 wickets as England completed a 3-0 sweep at Sri Lanka last November. However, the 27-year-old said England had a tendency to view spinning wickets negatively.

Reuters

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