'Chris Gayle still a force in dressing room'

Christchurch, Feb 22: Talisman Chris Gayle may be finding runs hard to come by but teammate Andre Russell believes just his presence in the squad is having a great impact on team morale.

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The left-handed opener has been enduring a dismal run with just 43 runs from four innings, including three single digit scores, since arriving for the World Cup, reports CMC.

File photo of Chris Gayle

His latest failure came Saturday against Pakistan when he scratched around for 14 deliveries for four runs before top-edging a swinging delivery from seamer Mohammed Irfan to long leg to fall in the fifth over.

"From the warm-up games, Chris has been struggling and we're still scoring 300 runs and he's not giving us those big performances. Even Marlon Samuels who is one of our main batters as well," Russell said.

"When these guys peak at the right time, West Indies has the ability to score over 350. They have been good in the dressing room, the way they keep motivating the team and the team spirit is very good."

Russell, who was Man of the Match in the game against Pakistan, said Gayle is cheering everyone in the team and that is what is expected from him.

"Chris is not moody. Chris is just an amazing guy that you share the changing room with. Even now he's not scoring and he's not miserable, he's not grumpy. He's happy, he's laughing and he's cheering everyone on the field, and that's what we want from a big guy like him, so it's very good," added Russell.

Gayle also struggled in the five-match one-day series against South Africa last month, making just 71 runs from five outings and has now gone 20 months without a hundred with just a single half-century in the interim.

In Gayle's absence, however, Russell has been one of the players to step up and his scintillating 13-ball unbeaten 42 helped lift the West Indies to a 150-run crushing of Pakistan at Hagley Oval.

He said the victory had left a buzz in the dressing room, especially following the team's shock four-wicket defeat to minnows Ireland last week.

"The mood is very good in the dressing room. We needed this win after that defeat against Ireland. Everyone is laughing and we're happy with the way we performed," said Russell, who picked up three-wickets in the match too.

"It's just always a fun dressing room and from the last game, things didn't go well for us, and we just turned up Saturday and wanted to show the world that we are not just a pushover. We are always a good team and we can fight. It was a very good performance."

Defending 310, the West Indies started brightly when fast bowler Jerome Taylor wiped out the top order to leave Pakistan four wickets down with just one run on the board in the fourth over. Russell followed up with his medium pace to help hurt Pakistan and seal the victory.

"It is very big to contribute to the team and win the Man-of-the-Match award but at the end of the day, the other contributions from the other guys were important," the Jamaican said.

"We didn't get the start that we wanted but the guys in the middle, they kept it together and set the innings perfectly for me to come and do my thing. It just goes to show that we're a good team and playing as a team you're always going to get the job done once everyone contributes."


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