ST. JOHN’S: Veteran West Indies batsman Chris Gayle announced on Sunday that he will retire from one-day international cricket after this year’s World Cup in England and Wales.
The big-hitting 39-year-old opener, who has scored 9,727 runs in 284 ODIs, is set to play his first international since last July against England on Wednesday.
The self-styled ‘Universe Boss’ appears confident that he can bow out in style after a 20-year career built on brutal hitting at the top of the order.
“You’re looking at a great man,” he told espncricinfo.com. “I’m the greatest player in the world.
“Of course I’m still the ‘Universe Boss’. That will never change. I’ll take that to the grave.”
Gayle needs 677 more runs to surpass the great Brian Lara as the West Indies’ all-time record ODI runscorer, a feat he will be hoping to achieve at his fifth World Cup, which starts on May 30.
The Windies begin their bid for a third World Cup title on May 31 against Pakistan.
“I’ll let the youngsters have some fun and I can sit back in the party stand and watch them have some fun,” said Gayle.
“Winning the World Cup would be a fairytale finish. The youngsters owe it to me to win. They have to do that for me and try and get me the trophy. I’ll be looking to put my input in as well.”
Gayle has been mainly a T20 specialist since making his last Test appearance in 2014, and most recently played in the Bangladesh Premier League earlier this month.
He will continue playing franchise cricket, with the T20 World Cup in two years’ time potentially on the agenda.
“I’m in good condition. The body is feeling good and I’m pleased with that,” he added.
“I’ve lost a bit of weight and I don’t want to get too big. I’m still working on my six pack.
“I’m trying to keep up with the youngsters in the field who are like cats the way they chase the ball. I still have it in me and I’m still enjoying it.”
Since making his debut in 1999, Gayle has also scored a Windies record of 23 ODI hundreds, including the first ever World Cup double century against Zimbabwe four years ago.
The game in Barbados on Wednesday is the first of a five-match series against World Cup favourites England.
Warner booed as Australia bat against England in World Cup warm-up
SOUTHAMPTON: Australia’s David Warner was booed and heckled on Saturday in his first match against England following a year-long ban for ball-tampering.
Both Warner and former Australia captain Steve Smith only returned to international duty earlier this month after completing 12-month suspensions for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Their first match in England this tour was a hastily arranged, unofficial warm-up match against the West Indies on the nursery ground at Southampton.
But that fixture was played in front of fewer than 30 spectators whereas there were few thousand in the main arena on Saturday when Warner and Australia captain Aaron Finch walked out to open the innings after England won the toss.
The jeers that greeted Warner were audible, although the Hampshire Bowl ground was far from full, however.
And when the left-hander arrived at he crease, one fan shouted: “Get off Warner you cheat.”
Australia are set to be in England for over four months on a lengthy tour that includes both the World Cup and the subsequent five-Test Ashes series.
A report in Thursday’s edition of Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper said Warner’s manager had sought security assurances from Cricket Australia, with the batsman’s wife wanting to give birth to their third child in Britain.
Finch, speaking at this week’s World Cup captains’ press conference, said: “Once the World Cup gets under way and you start getting into the tournament, probably the game against England, and then further on the Ashes there’s no doubt the crowd will start to play a bit of a part but that’s expected.
Pakistan U19 to take on Sri Lanka U19 in first 50-over match on Sunday
LAHORE: Pakistan U19 will open their tour of Sri Lanka on Sunday with the opening match of the five-match 50-over cricket series in Hambantota.
The two captains – Sri Lanka’s Nipun Dananjaya and Rohail Nazir of Pakistan – attended the trophy unveiling ceremony with Rohail hoping to play a competitive series. Rohail said he was contented with the team’s preparations and believed side was capable of winning the series against their counterparts.
“The series against Sri Lanka is going to be an exciting and tough series, which will help players from either side to prepare for next year’s ICC U19 World Cup in South Africa.
“Our coaches have prepared us keeping in mind the spinning tracks in Sri Lanka, so I feel that the conditions won’t be a problem for us,” Rohail said.
He added: “We have a great bunch of players in this team that is capable of winning matches on their own. Sri Lanka is a tough opponent to beat especially at home, so we are ready for the challenge.
Wicketkeeper batsman Rohail was one of the star performers in the Inter-Region U19 One-day tournament held in August last year (238 runs in seven matches).
Saim Ayub, a lefty top-order batsman from Karachi, is another performer from the Inter-Region U19 tournament where he scored 325 runs in seven matches at an average of 65 including two centuries and a half-century.
South Africa unveil England cricket tour dates
JOHANNESBURG: South Africa on Friday announced the dates for a tour by England which will include four Tests, three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals.
The Test series will start in Centurion on December 26, followed by South Africa’s traditional New Year Test at Newlands in Cape Town, starting on January 3.
The remaining Tests will be in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.
England will play two warm-up matches before the Tests, a two-day game against an Invitation XI and a three-day match against South Africa A. Both fixtures will be in Benoni.
Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe said the series would have special significance, “as this will be our first home series in the ICC World Test championship following our away series in India in October.”
South Africa will also host Australia for three Twenty20 internationals and three one-day internationals, starting five days after England’s final fixture on February 16.