West Indies bowling coach Corey Collymore says that opening batsman Chris Gayle will relish facing the England fast bowlers when the two teams meet in their 2019 ICC World Cup clash at Southampton, England on Friday.
“Chris thrives on occasions like these. I have known him since he was 16 and he has always loved a challenge. He has always enjoyed the challenge of fast bowling, so I expect him to relish that,” added the 41-year-old Collymore who took 93 Test wickets as well as 83 in One-Day Internationals.
Gayle, who's nickname the Universal Boss, will be coming up against two of the fastest bowlers in the tournament to date Jofra Archer, who has Caribbean roots and Mark Wood. Archer bowled a 93mph delivery against Bangladesh and Wood came moments after to bowl the quickest delivery this summer at 94mph. Gayle's battle with Archer is expected to be special seeing that Archer played for the West Indies Under-19 team before defecting to England.
Earlier this year Gayle smashed 39 sixes in four matches against England in the Caribbean. The 39-year-old had scores of 135, 50, 162 and 77 for an aggregate of 424 runs at an average of 106 and a strike rate of 134.
In this World Cup, he has recorded 50 and 21 and didn't get a chance to bat against South Africa as that match was washed out.
Collymore is confident the West Indies will be solid in all departments: "We have quick bowlers too so it should be a lively game. We have shown what we can do with our fast bowlers, we are good enough to take wickets with the new ball and then go from there. I don’t think many people like the short stuff. If you find a batsman that has a weakness to it, then you go after that,”
West Indies, two-time World Cup winners, will face the host nation at the Hampshire Bowl on Friday. The first ball is 10:30 am (5:30 am TT time). West Indies enter the match with a 1-1-1 record: they had a huge win by seven wickets against Pakistan; lost a close contest to Australia by 15 runs, and had the third match against South Africa rained off.
Meanwhile, hosts England are not having any sleepless nights over West Indies’ pace attack.
In fact, head coach Trevor Bayliss said on Wednesday that the tournament favourites were quite capable of handling the hostility from the likes of Oshane Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell when the two teams clash tomorrow.
“We can handle anything that is thrown at us,” Bayliss said.
“I have not seen too many with express-pace here just yet but we have a couple of good ones too, so I expect it to be tit for tat.”
Thomas, Cottrell and all-rounder Andre Russell have all bowled aggressively in the ICC World Cup with good effect and have given West Indies excellent starts in their three games so far.
In their opener, they blasted out Pakistan for 105, reduced Australia to 38 for four in their second game and had South Africa on the run at 29 for two in their third outing before rain forced an abandonment of the fixture.
Bayliss said he expected it to be a heated contest, especially after the 2-2 draw in the five-match series in the Caribbean earlier this year.
“We will have to play at our best to come away with a win. In the Caribbean, we were a little bit up and down. They bowled fast but then Mark Wood made a few of their guys jump up and down,” he pointed out.
“The wicket here is reasonably flat and it has been in the past. There have been a few more wickets in the World Cup then there has been in the last few years so I expect the fast bowlers are rubbing their hands together.”