Champions Trophy: Captain says Narine, Gayle trump cards for Windies

Cardiff (Wales), May 30 (IANS/CMC) West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo has pointed to big-hitting opener Chris Gayle and mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine as key weapons in the team's arsenal for the Champions Trophy starting next week.

Speaking to media here Wednesday, Bravo said both players possessed outstanding qualities which would augur well for the squad in their June 6-23 campaign.

Narine, with only two years of international cricket behind him, has emerged as an exciting prospect, and Bravo said he had added something special to the West Indies attack.

"He has done a great job for himself and for us as a team but also for other teams he's played for around the world," said Bravo.

"He's still learning his trade. He still has a lot to learn and every day by day he practices well, and I think that he's going to be a main player and will always be a main player in our setup."

The 25-year-old, known more for his Twenty20 exploits, has already taken 47 wickets from 28 ODIs at an average of 21.68 and an economy rate of under four runs per over.

However, he struggled on the tour of England last year, failing to impress on Test debut at Edgbaston and also in the two ODIs at the Rose Bowl and the Oval.

He returned to the Caribbean to bamboozle New Zealand, snapping up seven wickets in two Twenty20s, 13 wickets in five ODIs and another 12 scalps in the two-Test series.

Bravo said while Narine was considered the Windies strike bowler, he would not be placed under any undue pressure to perform.

"He's very young and he has achieved a lot in international cricket for the short time he has been there so now is a good opportunity for him again to actually do well. We're going to use him. Yes, he's our trump player, our marquee player, but he's not under any pressure to perform for us."

Gayle, meanwhile, a former West Indies captain, has been a dominant force in one-dayers, scoring 8442 from 242 matches, with 20 centuries.

Bravo noted, however, that Gayle was not only a devastating batsman but a great presence in the dressing room.

"He is the most dangerous player (in the world), and I think he will be until he decides to finish the game," Bravo said.

"But he's a guy that's easy to captain. Chris doesn't say much. He shares his knowledge. He's very approachable, a good team man, and to have someone like him in the team is always an asset.

"For me as captain, I can't explain how I feel. I'm very happy to have him available and fit and playing. He has done a lot of great things for cricket over the years, and I know he still has a lot of desire, passion to represent the West Indies team."

--IANS/CMC

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