WEST INDIES T20 team captain Kieron Pollard wants a “recharged” Chris Gayle for the ICC T20 World Cup, which will be staged jointly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman from October 17 to November 14.
Gayle, who was playing for Punjab Kings, left the bio-secure bubble on September 30, during the Indian Premier League (IPL), citing bio-bubble fatigue.
The selection of Gayle, the former WI captain, has sparked heated debate in the Caribbean, particularly due to Gayle’s age (42) and his declining form during the past year.
Pollard, during a zoom media conference from the team’s base in Dubai, on Tuesday, said he understands the players’ need to prioritise their mental well-being. However, the WI skipper is banking on the hard-hitting batsman to be ready in time for the World Cup.
"I’m guessing that recharge was just like those iPhones, when the battery is low, and you want to get some energy,” said Pollard. “This bubble life is very difficult at times. Sometimes you need a break, as a cricketer and as an individual. I don’t think enough attention is actually being placed on mental health, for sportsmen and cricketers, with all this bubble (life).
“People tend to try to use other narratives of how they feel as cricketers,” he added. “He made a decision for himself. We look forward to seeing a recharged Chris, and hopefully he can add value to us.”
Asked about the criticisms which have plagued the team since the 15-man squad was announced a month ago, Pollard replied, "No matter what, you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don't. We're focusing on the task at hand and this is the group of guys that we have.”
Pollard, who replaced Carlos Brathwaite as WI T20 skipper in September 2019, said that the WI team will continue to take the knee, before matches, in their support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
"It's something we strongly believe in, as a team,” said Pollard. We can continue to show our support for something that is close to our hearts.”
On Sunday, the ICC announced that there will be the use of the Decision Review System (DRS), with each team getting a maximum of two reviews per innings. There will also be drinks breaks during matches and each game will have 70 per cent capacity fans.
“Getting fans back is a fantastic thing,” said Pollard. “We miss the fans, the support and the excitement. We recently played with fans coming back, and it gives you a different feel over what we've been playing in the past 15 months.”
Pollard continued, “With the DRS, I think it's good. What we want is to get the right decision, if it’s the use of the technology. We want to have consistency.”
About the drinks breaks, the WI captain mentioned, “The heat here is very tough. I think they're taking the players' well-being into consideration. Kudos to the management of the ICC for thinking about that and putting it in place.”