Jamaica Tallawahs’ captain Chris Gayle knows that Barbadian cricket fans appreciate big shots.
And come tomorrow, he has promised the thousands of spectators expected to pile into Kensington Oval “shots aplenty” when his team take on the Barbados Tridents in their Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) clash.
Speaking to the media during the pre-match press conference today, Gayle said while he was hoping to put on a show at The Mecca, more importantly he was looking to help lead the Tallawahs to victory in their first game.
Since the CPL started in 2013, it will mark the second time Gayle and the Tallawahs’ will be playing at Kensington Oval.
“Of course I want to put on a show for the fans here. Based on what I heard, they like what they see on television but they want to see it in person here in Barbados.
“I’m sure it will be fantastic because Barbados fans love shots and they love entertainment and I will try to go out there and put on a showcase from a personal point of view and from a team point of view,” he added.
When asked how he felt about the perceived clash between himself and Tridents’ captain and big-hitter Kieron Pollard, Gayle jokingly responded: “I am going to crush Pollard, that’s what will happen!”
However, the powerfully built Jamaican acknowledged that while he knew he would be the main focus of the Tridents, how well the Tallawahs performed was not hinged on his individual performance.
“You know it’s not really all about me. I think when you look at our team, the balance and the batting depth can ease the pressure off me a bit and it’s something I am looking forward to. We have a lot of match winners, so that should be fantastic for us to go out there and play our natural game,” Gayle explained.
For first time head-coach Junior Bennett, getting off to a winning start will be of extreme importance to the Tallawahs.
In fact, he already has his sights set on finishing top of the group and earning an automatic place in the coveted finals.
“In any competition you want to get off to a winning start. You don’t want to go out there and play ‘catch up cricket’. You just want to go out there in front and remain in front…and based on the format of the competition whereby the team that tops the group stage goes straight to the final, you really want to do that instead of having to go to through the playoffs,” Bennett insisted.
Having started their title defence in winning fashion last Saturday with a comfortable 49-run win over the Guyana Amazon Warriors, Tridents’ players Robin Peterson and Ravi Rampaul are confident of victory in their second game.
According to Rampaul, their opening night victory had boosted the confidence of the entire squad.
“We definitely wanted to start on a winning note and we got that victory so we just want to play consistent cricket and try to win all our home games and take it from there.”
Playing in his first CPL tournament, South African Peterson got off to a dream start by taking three-wickets against the Warriors.
And while he knows it will be no easy task, he believes the Tridents have what it takes to overcome the Tallawahs.
“It’s always nice to start well and make a contribution but that’s in the past now. Tomorrow is a new game with new challenges and we are facing a team with a high quality batting lineup, so it’s going to be tough work trying to limit them tomorrow,” Peterson noted.