Cricket World Cup Team Preview: West Indies need Gayle to shine

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Number of previous appearances: 10

Last appearance: 2011

Best finish: Winners (1975 and 1979)

2014 ODI record: Played: 12, Won 6, Lost 4, 2 No Results

Pool: B

First 3 fixtures: Ireland, Pakistan, Zimbabwe

Coach: Stuart Williams

Squad: Jason Holder (captain), Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor

Top runscorer: Chris Gayle

There is only one place to start here. Christopher Henry Gayle is a name synonymous with West Indies cricket, and for good reason.

With 8810 runs in 258 ODIs, the Jamaican is the king of the big-hitters.

He is responsible for eight of the 12 highest innings in ODIs since the turn of the century for the West Indies, breaching the 150 run mark three times.

The opener will lead by example with the bat, offering a stable knock when necessary, but a behemoth of a boundary when the time suits.

Top wicket taker: Kemar Roach

That man, Chris Gayle, may have taken more wickets than any other member of this ODI squad, but having featured in 257 matches that would perhaps be expected.

Instead, Kemar Roach is likely to be one of the focal points of the Caribbean side’s bowling attack this time round.

Capable of a wicked fast-ball, he led the way for the Windies four years ago, racking up 13 wickets in their seven matches, bagging a hat-trick against the Netherlands, and could be a good bet to top the charts again.

Play a block shock against him at your peril though…

Magic man: Sunil Narine

The power the side possess with the bat is nicely contrasted with the skill and delicate technique of off-spinner Sunil Narine.

Capable of turning the ball unspeakable angles, the diminutive bowler can leave many a batsman in all sorts of bother.

His action has been called into question in recent months, but it certainly gets the job done.

Pre-tournament storyline:

Preparations for the tournament haven’t gone smoothly for the island nation.

The dismissal of coach Otis Gibson started the ball rolling, before former captain Dwayne Bravo and important all-rounder Kieron Pollard were dropped from the squad, leading Chris Gayle to question the powers that be.

Being on the receiving end of some AB De Villiers magic in a warm-up match, won’t have helped their confidence either.

Tournament odds: 12/1

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

Think Gayleforce can inspire a West Indies shock? Back them to go the whole way using your free £25 bet and pick up £300 if they lift the trophy a third time!

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.