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All eyes on Chris Gayle as Windies take on the Ireland in a one-off ODI

"The panel welcomes back Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels," chairman of selectors said.

Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle. (Photo by Christopher Lee-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

As the 15-man squad from Windies arrived in the Northern Ireland, all the spotlight was on Chris Gayle. The enthralling opener is all set to make a return to the ODI fold for the first time since the 2015 World Cup. The Windies are supposed to play a five-match series against England soon after and Gayle would be looking forward to redeeming himself against Ireland before the bigger challenge arrives.

Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor have also been brought back into the squad. Samuels played his last ODI game in October 2016 while Taylor’s last ODI was way back in July last year. The return of all these stalwarts comes on the backdrop of the Cricket West Indies deciding to lift restrictions on players preferring T20 leagues over domestic competitions.

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Selectors welcome Gayle in the Windies fold

“The panel welcomes back Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, who will both add value to our batting and help with the nurturing of the young batsmen in the team,” said the chairman of selectors Courtney Browne. “The fans were happy to see me back on the field representing West Indies,” said Gayle. “Hopefully, things can get better. Hopefully I can play a few more games,” he added.

Gayle on his part made his future ambitions clear. “I definitely want to play the 2019 World Cup. Things are beginning to open up a little more now between players and the board. It’s looking good, and we’ve to try and build from this to get the best players out on the field,” the Jamaican said.

World Cup 2019 Qualification Scenario

Windies are in a spot of bother as they need to beat Ireland and then defeat England by a margin of 4-1 or better to secure direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup. Otherwise, they may have to play the qualifying tournament against the likes of Ireland, Afghanistan and hosts Zimbabwe.

Only two teams from the qualifiers would join the top 8 as the 2019 World Cup in England is set to be a 10 team tournament.

Ireland’s perspective

With Ireland coach, John Bracewell stepping aside in December, he would be looking to make a good last impression. Graham Ford who has previously coached South Africa and Sri Lanka is all set to take over the reigns from him as he signed a three-year contract last week.

While Ford may not be around at the moment, players would be expecting him to evaluate their performance and hence would be looking forward to displaying their full potential. This was evident in Ireland skipper William Porterfield’s recent statement. “We want to lay down a marker.”

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