England pace bowler Mark Wood believes the best way to tackle West Indies talisman Chris Gayle is with the raw pace of Barbadian-born speedster Jofra Archer.
The match-up between Archer and Gayle is likely to be one of the key ones when the Windies face the hosts at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground on Friday.
A belligerent Gayle dominated the bowling the last time the teams met in the One Day International (ODI) format, which ended in a 2-2 draw in the Caribbean. It was Gayle who was named man-of-the-series after finishing it with 424 runs at an average of 106, with 39 sixes.
Archer was, however, not a part of the squad on that occasion and has since had a splendid World Cup. In addition to his express pace rattling batsmen, the bowler has claimed figures of 6 for 135. Wood is confident his bowling partner can slow the big West Indian down.
“Get Jofra to bowl at him!” was Wood’s solution to the Gayle conundrum.
“He is destructive and on his day he is hard to stop. In the West Indies, he was in great form, but you didn’t know how he was going to play. Some days he would get himself in and take his time and other days he would go ballistic from ball one,” he added.
But Archer has insisted that the match against the West Indies will be just another game of cricket.
The 24-year-old Archer represented the West Indies U-19s three times in 2014, before moving to England and deciding to represent that nation. Archer is eligible to represent England since his father holds a British passport.
“It’s just another game of cricket, same as today [last Friday], same as the last game,” Archer said after a strong performance against Bangladesh in Cardiff.
“I know them pretty good. I played with a few of the guys in under-19s, so it will be good to actually play against them this time. I’ll be able to share some knowledge but I do that whenever we play.”