Gayle absence haunts West Indies’ Bangladesh tour

Dhaka: The glaring absence of Chris Gayle stood out as the West Indies prepared to open their Bangladesh tour with a Twenty20 international in Dhaka on Tuesday.

The explosive left-hander was omitted for the tour, which also includes three one-dayers and two Tests, following a breakdown in his relationship with the West Indies Cricket Board following the World Cup earlier this year.

As his compatriots warmed up in Bangladesh, Gayle emerged as the second highest scorer in the Twenty20 Champions League in India with 257 runs in six matches for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Gayle, 32, has played 91 Tests, 228 one-dayers and 20 Twenty20 matches for the West Indies and has two triple-centuries in Test cricket to his name.

But coach Ottis Gibson played down the absence of both the star batsman and leading all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, preferring to bank on his young players to deliver in Bangladesh.

“Do we need our senior players? I think we need everybody who is committed to us,” Gibson had said at the start of the tour.

“Some people will think we need them. We are building a team and, of course, we need senior players that are committed to mix with the youngsters.

“The youngsters have taken the opportunity and done very well for us. As we are looking at the future, we will build a team around the younger guys.”

Bravo, who was also not considered for selection despite being fit, turned out for the Chennai Super Kings in the Champions League which ended in Chennai on Sunday.

Marlon Samuels made up for their absence with an unbeaten 102 off 56 balls to help the tourists trounce the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI by 75 runs in a Twenty20 warm-up on Sunday.

The West Indies piled up 195-3 in their 20 overs and restricted the home team to 120-6 to record a comprehensive win.

Darren Sammy’s men return to the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka where they dismissed Bangladesh for 58 in a World Cup game in March on way to a nine-wicket romp.

Wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim will begin his reign as Bangladesh’s new captain with Tuesday’s Twenty20 clash, with all-rounder Mohammad Mahmudullah as his deputy.

Rahim replaces leading all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who was sacked last month after a disastrous tour of Zimbabwe where Bangladesh lost both the Test and one-day series.

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