West Indies bowling coach Corey Collymore says 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 tomorrow.
“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,” said the 41-year-old Collymore, who took 93 Test wickets and 83 in One-Day Internationals during his career.
Gayle will be coming up against two of the fastest bowlers in the tournament to date in Barbadian-born Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. Archer bowled a 93mph delivery against Bangladesh and Wood came moments after to bowl the quickest delivery to date at 94mph.
Gayle's battle with Archer is expected to be special because of Archer's Caribbean roots. Archer played for the West Indies Under-19 team before recently qualifying to play for England through his father, who is British.
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 the ongoing World Cup, he has recorded 50 against Pakistan and 21 versus Australia 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 for Friday's match, in particular in the bowling department where his fast bowlers have been causing some havoc for opposing batsmen.
"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,” he said.
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.