West Indies bowling coach Corey Collymore feels hard-hitting opener Chris Gayle will relish the chance to take on England’s quick bowlers in Friday’s World Cup clash (England 3/10, West Indies 5/2 – Match Betting).
Gayle, 39, feasted on the England attack over the winter, smashing 39 sixes in four innings as the Windies drew 2-2 with the Three Lions in a 50-over series in the Caribbean.
Set to retire after this summer’s showpiece, the veteran left-hander is eager to go out on a high, with West Indies priced at 9/1 to win the World Cup and England on offer at 7/4.
Much has been made of the hosts’ pace attack, with new man Jofra Archer and Durham’s Mark Wood both hitting speeds in the mid-90mph bracket during the tournament.
However, Collymore does not believe that it will faze the giant Jamaican and says he will not take a backward step at Southampton.
“Chris thrives on that. I have known him since he was 16 and he has always loved a challenge,” he said. “He has always enjoyed the challenge of fast bowling, so I expect him to relish that.”
Jason Holder’s men sit sixth in the table, with one win, a defeat plus a no-result to date, while Eoin Morgan’s side are third, with two wins from three.
Therefore this week’s south-coast match-up is vital to both nations and Morgan will want his fast bowlers firing on all cylinders once again.
While Gayle has the pedigree to cope, it remains to be seen if the other Windies batsmen will make such an impact against a couple of bowlers that Collymore rates highly (Archer 11/4, Wood 4/1 – Top England Wicket-Taker).
“They are both very impressive as we have seen throughout this tournament,” he added. “I did work with Archer when he was a lot younger in Barbados.
“He was very impressive, the skills he shows now are ones he always had, so we are expecting more of the same from him.”
Odds subject to change.