We are not going to focus on only Virat Kohli - Chris Gayle
West Indies opening batsman Chris Gayle has said that his team is not focusing their energies on developing strategies to tackle Indian batsman Virat Kohli in their semi-final clash of the ICC World Twenty20.
Gayle and Kohli are teammates in the Royal Challengers Bangalore side of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Indian Test captain is currently in tremendous form with the bat.
Kohli played a very crucial knock against Australia in their final Super 10 encounter and led his team to the semi-finals with a 51-ball unbeaten 82.
When asked if he was hoping for Kohli not to fire in the semi-final, the 36-year-old had a jovial message for his IPL teammate.
However, Gayle quickly stated that India have plenty of match winners in their side and any player can fire on a given day.
“Yeah, I am hoping. Please, don’t fire Virat,” said Gayle in a humorous tone.
He is in good form and it is a good wicket as well, so anything is possible.
“We have to play 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 any one of them can actually fire on any particular day.
“It is a huge team India, their batting line-up is superb, but Virat is the man that stands out at this point in time.”
Gayle also added that West Indies are also a star studded batting line-up and is backing the rest of the batting line up to step up in case he fails to deliver with the bat.
“Like I said, they have so many match-winners; our team as well, we have a lot of match-winners too, it is not always going to be about me.
“For a particular stage, one of our batters should take up the baton if Chris Gayle doesn’t score runs, someone should actually take it up and fire as well and put the team in a winning position.”
Despite winning their first three matches of the Super 10 stage, West Indies succumbed to a defeat against Afghanistan in their final match.
Though he is disappointed with the loss against Afghanistan, Gayle has urged the team to move on and bounce back in the semi-final.
“The only positive you can look from the Afghanistan game is the motive.
“No teams can actually win all games, to actually lose at that particular stage… We didn’t want to, 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.
“We are disappointed with the loss but we have to get the bad game out of the way.”
Citing India’s performance after their loss against New Zealand in the first Super 10 encounter, Gayle felt that the loss can spur the team to perform better.
“Two games away and then we 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.”
Though West Indies missed the services key players like Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard in the tournament, Gayle said that the performance of the team proves their bench strength.
Backing the West Indies in the semi-final, the flamboyant batsman from Jamaica is expecting an interesting contest against India, whom he termed as a “strong favourite”
“We have lost a lot of key players, but if you look at the back-up, the guys who came in for the key players, they have actually played a tremendous part as well.
“That goes to show the strength of West Indies cricket back home.
“The guys who actually replaced the first picks, someone like Carlos Brathwaite, he won us the game against South Africa.
“Those guys are playing a big part and the bench is still strong enough.
“We have a lot of match-winners, the No. 1 bowler (Samuel) Badree, who is doing a fantastic job, and Sulieman Benn backed up Dwayne Bravo, (Andre) Russell and the rest of the bowlers.
“It is a fantastic all-round team and we are going against a strong favourite team in India, so it will be an interesting game and I hope it will be a good game for the fans to cheer and the West Indies come out on top.”
India and West Indies will go head to head for a spot in the final of the ICC World T20 on the 31st of March at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
© Cricket World 2016