West Indies captain Darren Sammy cannot overstate the importance of Chris Gayle’s towering presence at the top of the batting order but insists others will have to contribute if they are to defend their World Twenty20 title in Bangladesh.
Gayle’s 140-plus strike rate in Twenty20 internationals is just one indication of his ability to dismantle any bowling attack and the onus would be on the flamboyant southpaw to provide flying starts in Bangladesh.
Sammy warned his teammates that the West Indies cannot afford to be a one-man army if they are to replicate their success of two years ago.
“Chris to me is the most destructive T20 batsman in the world,” Sammy told reporters in Dhaka yesterday where his team will play all their matches. The women’s tournament will be played alongside the men’s tournament.
“It’s a great asset for us having him in the side but like in Sri Lanka, when we won the title, it took a total team effort. The key players (contributed), different guys chipped in in different games.
“It’s no difference this time, we got to play as a team, we got to gel well together and hopefully performance will come from the key players,” Sammy said, terming Gayle as an important dressing room figure who would play a “pivotal role” in their title defence.
Gayle totalled 222 runs in the 2012 World Twenty20 but Marlon Samuels (230) was the top scorer for the side in Sri Lanka.
Gayle was at the forefront, however, when the entire team broke into a Gangnam-style dance to celebrate the victory in Sri Lanka.
Sammy ruled out an encore if they clinch the April 6 final at Mirpur’s Shere Bangla National Stadium.
“Will come up with something new probably,” said the ever-smiling all-rounder.
“Somebody will come up with something and the rest of us will follow. Chris probably has something up his sleeves, (Dwayne) Bravo, (Andre) Russell, maybe me, you never know.
“Something will come up and we’ll use it and enjoy the ceremony.”
West Indies begin their World Twenty20 campaign against 2007 champions India in a group two match in Mirpur on March 23.