ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Superstar opener Chris Gayle will return to domestic limited overs action for the first time in seven years when he headlines the Regional Super50 starting next Tuesday.
The 38-year-old has been included in the Jamaica Scorpions squad for the January 30 to February 24 tournament, bringing added flavour to a campaign which has lacked star quality in recent years.
Gayle is the Caribbean’s premier one-day batsman, with over 9 000 runs in 275 One-Day Internationals and nearly 12 000 in List A cricket.
However, his last appearance in a domestic 50-overs tournament was back in 2011, when Jamaica beat Trinidad and Tobago in the final at the Guyana National Stadium.
The left-hander will be joined by explosive all-rounder Andre Russell who returns to action after serving a one-year anti-doping whereabouts ban, which also kept him out of international cricket.
Russell has missed the last three years of the tournament and like Gayle, will bring an added quality to the Scorpions who were last year’s losing finalists.
Champion off-spinner Sunil Narine will also suit up for this year’s competiton after being named in the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.
The 29-year-old last played in the regional tournament when he snatched an amazing six wickets for nine runs as Red Force beat Guyana Jaguars in the final of the 2015 edition at Queen’s Park Oval.
Two former West Indies players will be turning out for overseas teams. Speedster Fidel Edwards, who played 55 Tests and 50 ODIs, will suit for English County Hampshire while Xavier Marshall, who appeared in seven Tests and 24 one-dayers, will be part of the United States set-up.
West Indies one-day captain Jason Holder, along with current ODI players Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Kesrick Williams and Marlon Samuels, are all set to campaign in the tournament, as they gear up for the ICC World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe next March.
And Cricket West Indies chief executive, Johnny Grave, said the Regional Super50 would also serve to enhance the one-day squad’s preparation for the all-important qualifiers.
“The Super50 Cup is a great competition and we are delighted that Kent and UWI’s Combined Campuses & Colleges are coming back, as well as welcoming Hampshire and the USA to join our territorial board franchises,” said Grave.
“This year’s tournament will also provide the ideal match preparation for our Windies men’s team ahead of the vital ICC World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe.”
Group A, comprising reigning champions Barbados Pride, Red Force, CCC Marooners, Windward Islands Volcanoes and Hampshire, will be staged in Barbados with matches played at historic Kensington Oval and the 3W’s Oval.
Group B, meanwhile, will bring together Scorpions, Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Jaguars, United States and Kent, doing battle at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium and the Coolidge Cricket Ground. – CMC