West Indies captain Jason Holder expects Chris Gayle to be available for Saturday&’s quarterfinal clash against New Zealand despite the talismanic opener missing the final Pool B game against the United Arab Emirates due to injury.
“He has had the same back problem he had for a year and he has good days and bad days. But he is a crucial player for us going into the quarterfinal. He will be up for it, even if he is not 100 percent. He is a big game player and we all know what he can do on those days," Holder said on Sunday, reports CMC.
Gayle has struggled with a recurring back problem in recent years which has hampered his fitness and form. It led to his withdrawal from the recent Test tour of South Africa.
He entered the World Cup averaging 14 over the last 20 months and despite a world record 215 against Zimbabwe, has managed just 64 runs in his other four innings in the tournament.
His place against UAE was taken by opener Johnson Charles, who stroked a top score of 55 off 40 balls in what was his first game since flying in recently as a late replacement for injured Darren Bravo.
With Gayle expected to return and opener Dwayne Smith managing a mere 93 runs from six matches, Holder said Charles would definitely be in contention for the quarterfinal in Wellington.
“Obviously Johnson played a very good innings and has probably pretty much secured his spot for the next game but we will sit down, see the conditions and pick the team,” Holder said.
The West Indies finished level with Ireland on six points in Pool B but sneaked in to the top four, courtesy a superior net run rate.