No pressure on 'destructive' Gayle, says Sammy


Darren Sammy says there is no pressure on the "destructive" Chris Gayle ahead of West Indies' first World Twenty20 match against England.

Windies opener Gayle is the all-time leading run-scorer in T20 cricket, and the 36-year-old is sure to play a key role in their campaign, which begins at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old scored 20 in the 45-run warm-up loss to India last Thursday and did not bat in the three-wicket victory over Australia on Sunday.

The West Indies captain is confident there is enough talent throughout the batting order, meaning his team will not be solely relying on Gayle.

"It is up to us to set up the innings very well and we have one of the most destructive T20 batsman in the world in Chris, but there is never too much pressure on Chris," said Sammy.

"Chris will just do what Chris has done throughout his career. Chris can turn it on whenever he feels like it.

"We know that Chris is a massive figure, but when you look at the dressing room we have [Dwayne] Bravo, [Andre] Russell, Carlos [Brathwaite] - that's a lot of power."

Andre Russell's place in the team comes amid the possibility of a ban after missing three doping tests in a year, though the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) opted against provisionally suspending him and referred the matter to the Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.

With a date for a hearing yet to be set, Russell has been cleared to play, and Sammy is confident the all-rounder will take part in the whole tournament.

"I am very much confident Russell will get to play the entire competition," he said. "We have always had setbacks and we thrived on all things and took that as motivation and went out and have performed well.

"We as a team have supported Russell and we are confident he will take part in the whole tournament and make an impact like he has done in the past."

There have been blows in the build-up to the World T20, with spinner Sunil Narine banned from bowling due to an illegal action and Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons have pulled out through injury.

"It is always difficult to replace someone like Narine, and Pollard who had so much experience here," Sammy continued.

"Simmons played here for Mumbai Indians [in the Indian Premier League] in last two or three seasons. It's always difficult to replace quality players and their experience, but we have players who can also have the same impact like them.

"Yes we will miss them but that gives an opportunity for others to step up and play."