Gayle confident ahead of Sri Lanka series
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) - West Indies captain, Chris Gayle, is confident that his side can conquer Sri Lanka in the 2008 Digicel Home Series that bowls off this weekend.
Speaking after the team arrived in Guyana on Tuesday night, Gayle said his players were aware of the task and though they had respect for the visitors, the aim was to win the series of two Tests and three One-Day Internationals.
After a brief presentation from the series sponsors, Digicel, Gayle told reporters he was pleased with the team's balance and believed they had the ability to defeat the tourists.
"What we have is a very balanced team and the expectations are very high. We're looking forward to this series in a big way. We believe we can match up against the Sri Lankans and come out on top.
"Sri Lanka has a very good team and... an experienced bowling unit and very good batsmen, but we believe in our ability. We will plan well and go out there and attack," Gayle added.
The captain said with several new faces in the team it presented the opportunity for players to showcase their skills on the international stage.
He was referring to left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn, off-spinner Amit Jaggernauth, left-handed opening batsman Sewnarine Chattergoon and all-rounder Ryan Hinds, who is making a return to the team.
Hinds last represented the West Indies in 2005.
"This is a big series and a big opportunity for players to stamp their authority," Gayle declared.
"The players have been doing well in the Carib Beer Series and this is a chance to transfer that form into the Test match arena. We support them and welcome them to the team unit," added the big 28-year-old left-handed opening batsman.
At the team meeting yesterday morning, team manager Omar Khan and head coach John Dyson both expressed their expectations and outlined that this tour signalled a new era in West Indies cricket now that there is a permanent management team in place.
Khan said he was looking forward to working with the squad, with everyone gelling together as a unit.
The first Digicel Test match bowls off on Saturday at the National Stadium, Providence.
The West Indies will have training sessions this morning at Providence and tomorrow morning at the same venue.
March 22-26: 1st Digicel Test - National Stadium, Providence, Guyana
March 29-31 Sri Lanka v West Indies "A" Team - Shaw Park, Tobago
April 3-7: 2nd Digicel Test - Queen's Park Oval, Trinidad
April 10: 1st Digicel One-Day International - Queen's Park Oval, Trinidad
April 12: 2nd Digicel One-Day International - Queen's Park Oval, Trinidad
April 15: 3rd Digicel One-Day International - Beausejour Stadium, St Lucia (day/night)