Millennium Post

India have many match winners, won’t focus on Virat only: Gayle

Swashbuckling West Indies opener Chris Gayle on Tuesday conceded that India would start as favourites in the World T20 semifinal showdown here on Thursday as the home side have “many match-winners” but warned that the Caribbeans would also be plotting for an upset win.

Talking to reporters after the West Indies team’s practice session at the Brabourne stadium here, Gayle said that his side will also not focus only on Virat Kohli, who has been in sublime form in the tournament, but on the Indian team as a whole.

“India have come back with three wins after being one down. There have the momentum, there is no doubt about that and a lot of confidence coming into the semifinal game as well. It is very difficult to pinpoint one particular player in the Indian team. It is a very good all-round team, good fielding team as well,” Gayle said.

“That’s why India are the favourites. It is always going to be difficult to beat them here. But like I said, West Indies are ready for an upset,” he added.

Kohli has single-handedly won two crucial matches for India -- against Pakistan and Australia -- and Gayle heaped praise on the star Indian batsman but said that the Caribbeans would also be wary on other home team players.

“No surprise there. I have said it over the years he (Virat) is going to be the world beater he is today. He has been fantastic right through the year. He is in good form and it is a good wicket (at Wankhede) as well, so anything is possible. We have to play to the situation accordingly, play within our strength and actually take it from there.

“We are not going to focus on only Virat, there are so many match-winners there and anyone of them can actually fire on any particular day. It is a huge team India, their batting line-up is superb. They have so many match-winners, like our team as well, we have a lot of match-winners too, it is not always going to be about me,” said Gayle.

Gayle, who scored a record-breaking hundred against England, said he would wish that Kohli does not fire in the semifinal match. “Virat is the man that stands out at this point in time.

Hopefully he won’t get runs against us. I am hoping, please don’t fire, Virat. He can still get runs but for a losing cause. We’ll be happy with that as well,” Gayle said in a lighter vein. West Indies lost to minnows Afghanistan in the last Super 10 game played at Nagpur but Gayle sought to put it as just one ‘bad game’.

“We did not want to lose that match, we wanted to keep our winning consistency going. But these things happen, it is T20 cricket and on any particular day, any particular team can beat any team,” he said.

“We are disappointed with the loss but we have to get the bad game out of the way. Like I said, two games away and then we can actually lift the trophy. We saw India bounce back from losing games as well, so it can put us in a strong position as well to actually lift our game and do better on Thursday,” the big built West Indian said.

Asked if he’s ready to face Ravichandran Ashwin who can open the Indian bowling on Thursday, the left-handed batsman said, “It is no surprise. (M S) Dhoni always put Ashwin up early but Dhoni is an unpredictable captain. It is not necessary that he’ll do it again. But, I am looking to show what Chris Gayle is, I will be prepared, I’ll be ready mentally for whichever particular bowler, if it is Ashwin also.

“There are so many bowlers in the Indian team. Nehra is bowling well with the new ball. We just have to keep our eyes open, play according to the situation. Chris Gayle will always be positive. It does not matter which bowler is bowling against Chris Gayle. Chris Gayle would attack. That’s the nature of T20 cricket. And that’s the nature of Chris Gayle. No names, just cricket ball, beat it as hard as possible.”

On his century against England here, Gayle said, “It is good always to get runs, especially in the first game you want to have that sort of confidence where you don’t have to play catch up cricket. “For the tournament so far, I have only batted twice so I have not really got a knock in all four games.

But this (semifinals) is a perfect opportunity to actually start the tournament and try and pick up where I let off, get a big one for the team and put them in a winning position. If that doesn’t happen someone should actually be able to pick it up and take West Indies to victory,” said Gayle.
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