Is Chris Gayle still the most dangerous one-day batsman in the world do you think, and what’s he like to captain?
Yes, he is the most dangerous player, and I think he will be until he decides to finish the game. But he’s a guy that’s easy to captain. Chris doesn’t say much. He shares his knowledge. He’s very approachable, a good team man, and to have someone like him in the team is always an asset. To me as captain, I can’t explain how I feel of – I’m very happy to have him available and fit and playing. He has done a lot of great things for cricket over the years, and I know he still has a lot of desire, passion to represent the West Indies team. I want to do well for West Indies cricket, and like I said, I have the opportunity to lead a talented team with all the senior players available along with some real exciting players, and what that’s going to ask for, the coaching staff, everyone is happy, and hopefully we can get off to a good start in the tournament. I know a lot of teams will be looking at our squad and thinking that, yeah, we have a very good team. But at the end of the day, cricket is played on the field, and we’re not going to allow the outside distractions get in the way of how we prepared and how we want to play in this tournament.
Talking about the captaincy, can you outline the reasons why there was that change made, that you’ve become the captain of the one-day side?
I think they just want to try a rotation policy. Obviously Darren had been doing the job in all forms of the game for the last two and a half years, and that itself can be a tasking job, just give him a break from the team. He’s still our Test captain, so therefore I think that it’s a change of pace. I’m happy he’s still in the squad so I can actually continue what he left, take over from what Darren was actually doing, and he’s here and we’ve get the best way, the best combination, what we think should be the best for the West Indies teams so that we can win games.
Tell us something about Sunil Narine; he’s been bowling really well of late.
Yeah, Sunil Narine burst on the scene. He has done a great job for himself and for us as a team but also for other teams he’s played for around the world. He’s still learning his trade, he still has a lot to learn, and every day by day he practices well, and I think that he’s going to be a main player and will always be a main player in our setup. We’ve got to give him that assurance that he’s our key player, not put too much pressure on him. Obviously playing in England before did not have much success and teams tend to say okay, he can’t bowl outside of the Caribbean, outside of the subcontinent, but he’s a world-class player. He’s very young and he has achieved a lot in international cricket for the short time he has been there. So now is a good opportunity for him again to actually do well. We’re going to use him. Yes, he’s our trump player, our marquee player, but he’s not under any pressure to perform for us. If he does well, it’s a bonus, but we’re going to let Sunil just relax and enjoy his cricket and enjoy the competition ahead of him. It’s a great tournament for him, it’s his first ICC Champions Trophy, and I’m sure he wants to go out.
There is a feeling around that you are one of the favourites. Do you accept that?
Well last year in Sri Lanka we were cast as favourites and we end up winning, so it’s good to be favourites again. Hopefully we win this time. But honestly we don’t think we are favourites. We just want to concentrate on what we have to do. We’re in a very tough group, and first of all, we want to take it step by step, try and survive that group, the talk around is it’s the group of death, so hopefully we get out of the group of death and then take it from there. A tournament like this, it’s short, and you never know what can happen. Being favourites, it’s good that other teams can actually — and media people can actually look at us as favourites, but we don’t see ourselves as favourites, we just want to be humble and go about our business in our own way and let the man above take care of our destiny.
Can we expect you being the captain to do the same dance moves that you do after taking wickets?
Yeah, I think nothing will change. I’m the same, yes I’m the captain now, a bit more responsibility but I try to remain and be the person who I am, the person who the fans have grown to love over the years I’ve been playing cricket, and I’m going to continue to do that. I’m going to lead from the front and I’m going to make sure that my team plays the game the way it should be played in the right spirit, and we’re going to entertain the people. Obviously winning is going to be my main priority, especially in a tournament like this, but yeah, we’re going to continue to entertain and we’re going to continue to play the game how we know how to play with the flair and the glamour, and hopefully we can give the English fans something to support.
Courtesy: ICC Champions Trophy official website