Dhaka: Struggling West Indies will be boosted by the return of star batsman Chris Gayle and pace spearhead Kemar Roach for the World Cup quarter-final against Pakistan on Wednesday.
The duo missed the last league match against India in Chennai on Sunday with Gayle resting an abdominal strain and Roach feeling unwell due to viral fever and a stomach infection.
Skipper Darren Sammy said both Gayle and Roach worked out in the nets at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium on Tuesday and expected them to report fully fit for the quarter-final.
“I liked the way Chris was hitting balls in the nets,” said Sammy. “He is very committed to the West Indies cause. Come tomorrow, and I have not doubt both he and Kemar will play.” Sammy would not confirm if fast bowler Ravi Rampaul, who took five wickets against India in his first appearance in this tournament, will be retained if Roach returns to the side. “We will assess the conditions and discuss it amongst ourselves before finalising the team,” he said. “We will put out the best possible team which can deal with the conditions.” The West Indies need to be at full strength for the quarter-final at a time when they seem to be floundering after two inexplicabe defeats against England and India from dominant positions.
They were on the brink of victory against England when, chasing a modest target of 244, they were comfortably placed at 222-6 before losing their last four wickets for three runs.
Against India on Sunday, they caved in again as eight wickets fell for 34 runs after they were 154-2 and lost by 80 runs.
The West Indies, who have now lost 18 successive matches against the leading nations, cannot afford another defeat.
“We did lose our way and can’t keep collapsing like that all the time,” the captain said. “And we certainly can’t do that in a quarter-final.
“But I am confident we can put the past behind us and hopefully the West Indies will win. It will be an exciting game.”
The West Indies return to the venue where they shot out Bangladesh for their lowest one-day total of 58 in the league to romp home by nine wickets in a match that ended in under two hours.
“It is definitely an advantage to have played here earlier,” said Roach. “We executed our plans well against Bangladesh and we will take confidence from that.”
Sammy expected a tough fight against the in-form Pakistanis, who topped Group A with five wins in six matches, including a four-wicket demolition of Australia in Colombo on Saturday.
The win ended the three-time defending champions’ unbeaten streak of 34 World Cup matches over a 12-year period.
“Pakistan have been playing good cricket, especially Shahid Afridi who has led from the front,” said Sammy. “But we must focus on what we have to do to execute our plans and win the game.
“This is the quarter-final and everything depends on how we play on the day. It does not matter if you are number one or number eight. If you don’t win you are out.”