Cricket World Cup: West Indies delay Chris Gayle fitness decision

Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle missed West Indies' final pool game against UAE through injury
Quarter-finals: New Zealand v West Indies
Venue: Wellington Date: Saturday, 21 March 2014
Coverage: Live Test Match Special radio and text commentary on every match on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra & BBC Sport website, plus desktop, tablets, mobiles and app.

West Indies will make a decision on Chris Gayle's fitness on the morning of their World Cup quarter-final with New Zealand, says captain Jason Holder.

Gayle, 35, missed his side's last pool game because of a back injury that has required a pain-killing injection.

The opening batsman has scored 279 runs in the tournament - but 215 of those came in one innings against Zimbabwe.

"We'll see how he pulls up today [Friday] and make a decision tomorrow morning," said Holder.

"Chris is out playing this morning. He's had an injection, nothing major.

Chris Gayle ODI record
MatchesInningsRunsBatting averageWicketsBowling average
268263916037.2316335.20

'One of the most feared batsmen in cricket'

Gayle is West Indies' most experienced ODI player, with 9,160 runs from his 268 matches at an average of 37.23.

His score of 215 - from 147 balls - in the Pool B game against Zimbabwe on 24 February remains the highest score in the tournament, in which he has also taken four wickets.

"He's one of the most feared batsmen in world cricket," added Holder. "So to have Chris on my squad is a plus for anybody.

"We won the last game without him so I can't say we can't win without him. He's been a very good player for us over the years. But it's shown that we've got people to fit the bill."

Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle has 22 centuries and 46 half-centuries in ODIs

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said his team had prepared for the match in anticipation of Gayle being fit to play.

"I don't think it changes things too much because we expected him to play anyway," said McCullum. "He's obviously a world-class player and destructive on his day.

"The West Indies team are stacked with match-winners, not just Chris but many other guys in their line-up."

'The greatest time of our lives'

New Zealand go into the quarter-final match unbeaten in the competition following six successive victories to top Pool A.

McCullum says the Kiwis are having "the greatest time of our lives" playing a brand of cricket that has "captivated New Zealand and is starting to make people around the world sit up and take notice of how we go about our work".

However, the 33-year-old, who has scored 257 runs in the tournament, is aware that it could all end on Saturday.

Former England spinner Graeme Swann:
"A lot of people are getting nervous over here. I think it'll be very much like the Australia-Pakistan game - some in Australia are desperate to write them off, but I can't see New Zealand losing. Daniel Vettori has been the stand-out spinner, Trent Boult and Tim Southee have been outstanding new-ball bowlers, and this is the best New Zealand team I've ever seen."

"If West Indies turn up tomorrow, someone plays a match-winning inning which is good enough to overcome and upset our best, then I can live with that," he said.

"It's a big game, but we'll go out there and enjoy the moment, enjoy the stage and a full house at Wellington and hopefully we perform accordingly."

What do the stats say?

  • This will be the fourth time these sides have met at this venue, with New Zealand winning all three previous meetings comfortably (by eight wickets, 81 runs & seven wickets).
  • Seven of the last eight completed ODIs between these sides have been won by the side batting first (four by West Indies, three by New Zealand).
  • Daniel Vettori currently has 34 World Cup wickets; three more will see him overtake Jacob Oram (36) as New Zealand's leading wicket-taker in the tournament's history.
  • Kyle Mills, who is yet to play at the 2015 World Cup, has dismissed Chris Gayle six times in ODIs; only two players (Brett Lee and Ajit Agarkar - both seven times) have claimed his wicket more often.
  • Trent Boult has bowled 11 maidens so far in this tournament, more than any other bowler. The 19 recorded by Bob Willis in 1983 is the most recorded in a World Cup tournament.

Listen to highlights from Test Match Special's and 5 live Sport's 2015 World Cup coverage.

World Cup quarter-finals
South Africa beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets Sydney, 18 March
India beat Bangladesh by 109 runs Melbourne, 19 March
Australia v Pakistan Adelaide, 20 March
New Zealand v West Indies Wellington, 21 March

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