Can Chris Gayle inspire the Windies in his World Cup farewell?

The West Indies may well have won the first two cricket World Cups in 1975 and 1979, but they haven’t won it since and not even made a final since 1983. In cricket World Cup betting, you’ll find the Windies priced at 14/1, alongside Pakistan and earlier this year, talisman-batsman Chris Gayle announced his retirement from One Day Internationals after the World Cup in England and Wales next month.

Can Chris Gayle conjure one more magic moment for the West Indies at a Cricket World Cup?

The Jamaican-born cricketer began his international career in 1999 and has featured for the Windies in every World Cup since. Despite pulling out of the international circuit to ply his trade in the Afghanistan Premier League in October 2018, the 39-year-old was re-called in February, ahead of the ODIs against England and subsequently, the World Cup. It wasn’t the first time he was missing from the international scene, having previously been out the team for 30 months after the 2015 World Cup, following a stand-off against the West Indies Cricket Board.

Gayle’s ODI record

Having made his ODI debut in 1999, Gayle recorded his first century three years later, against Kenya. He has to date recorded centuries in 25 matches, including two this year. During England’s tour of the West Indies in February, he scored 135 runs from 129 balls in Bridgetown and 162 from 97 in St. George’s, but on both occasions, the Windies lost the match. That double saw Gayle surpass 10,000 runs in ODIs. Currently on 10,151, he sits behind Brian Lara in second-place with the best record for the West Indies, and 14th overall for runs scored.

Gayle also holds the record for the most runs scores in a single One Day International and is the first (and currently, only) player to ever hit a double-century. He hit 215 in the 15th ODI between the West Indies and Zimbabwe at the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australasia. His records are admirable and include being the second-best batsman scoring 314 sixes in ODIs; however, he can also lay claim to being the man with the most sixes in an ODI series (39 in four innings against England in February).

World Cup record

In the last World Cup, Gayle hit the fastest double century, scoring 215 (as we mentioned) from 138 balls. The Windies went on to lose out to New Zealand in the quarter-finals, with Gayle contributing 61 runs, but the team losing by 143 runs in Wellington.

The quarter-finals in 2015 have been their best finish for some time. The Windies also made the last eight in 2011, losing out to Pakistan who managed to hit 113/0. Prior to that, they lost out in the Super 8 stage of the 2007 World Cup and failed to get through from the group stages in both 2003 and 1999.

Gayle’s World Cup record has seen him score 944 runs in 26 matches to date, amassing 90 fours and 37 sixes in that time. Despite a double-century over Zimbabwe, he’s yet to record 100+ runs any other time, but does have four half-centuries to his name.

His thoughts

There’s little doubt that Gayle’s experience and leadership skills will help spur on his teammates. Having previously captained the side, he was made vice-captain for the tournament, for which he said: (it was his) “responsibility to support the captain and everyone else in the team.

This will probably be the biggest World Cup, so there will be great expectations, and I know we will do very well for the people of the West Indies.”

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