Renowned and veteran Caribbean cricket commentator and writer Tony Cozier, in an article on trinidadexpress.com website has touted Chris Gayle as holding the key for the West Indies in the ICC Cricket World Cup, scheduled to take place between 14 Feb – 28 March, 2015 in Australia and New Zealand.
Frankly speaking, it is not easy to second guess a stalwart of Cozier’s caliber, experience, and insight on West Indies cricket.
Therefore, one cannot help but underscores Cozier’s take on the 35-year-old Chris Gayle towering strengths and his impact that will be needed both on and off the field.
After all, Gayle’s batting stats of 21 ODI hundred, 8,881 runs, and 260 matches speak not only to his batting prowess and longevity in the game but also compares well to other West Indies cricket stalwarts.
The fact is when Gayle is on song there are few batsmen in the world that can match him in the sheer power and brute force of hitting a cricket ball.
That said, the player, in my opinion to take us to the promised land of a World Cup victory, if ever there will be one for the WI is the 34-year-old right-handed, stylish Jamaican batsman, Marlon Nathaniel Samuels.
He is a player blessed with not only immense ability, but one who exudes confidence in his skills set. His batting technique was at one time described as faultless and his batting craft, artistic both in style and elegance.
Samuels made his test debut at the tender age of 19 and was viewed as a prodigy by many cricket pundits. At an early age, he was compared to WI cricket icon Sir Vivian Richard.
However, today, he has taken a lot of flack for not playing to his full potential or living up to the expectations of cricket fans, globally.
It must be said, however, that his career was plagued with controversies and injuries at its embryonic stage and that to some extent has led to a career set back.
Notwithstanding, it is a testimony to his character and his strong mental fortitude for him to be still in the game, especially when considered against the many of his peers who have had less contentious issues to contend with; yet have fallen away from the game.
Today, Samuels is vice-captain for the WI World Cup team, a role he will relish given the prestige of the ICC World Cup event and his swagger both on and off the cricket pitch.
Samuels has played over 150 ODIs and boasts a batting averages of 32.69 and a strike rate of 74.07. He has scored 7 centuries and 23 half-centuries in that format of the game with his highest score being 126 not out.
He is also a useful right-arm spin bowler and has 83 scalps to show for it.
Samuels was named one of Wisden’s cricketers of the year in 2013 and also played a leading role in West Indies winning the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 competition.
Here again, on the world stage, Samuels is expected to come good by showing his class.
Barbara Davy, Readers Bureau, Contributor
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