Veteran batsman Chris Gayle has returned to the West Indies squad for the first time in nearly two years for the three-match T20 International series against Sri Lanka, beginning on March 3. Gayle, one of cricket’s global superstars, was recalled to the 14-man squad under Kieron Pollard on the basis of his good performances in recent tournaments, including the IPL and the Pakistan Super League. Also Read - PBKS Pacer Arshdeep Singh After Match-Winning Spell vs RR in IPL 2021: Heart Was Beating Fast Before Last Over
The 41-year-old Gayle wants to help steer West Indies to a successful defence of their World Twenty20 title in India in October and November later this year. Senior fast bowler Fidel Edwards, 39, is also back in the national squad after a nine-year hiatus. Also Read - Sanju Samson Claims 'Second Half of my Knock Was Best in IPL' After RR Skipper's Hundred Goes in Vain
The three matches of the T20I series will be played on March 3, 5, and 7 at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua, which will be making its international debut. Also Read - IPL 2021 Points Table Latest Update After RR vs PBKS, Match 4: Punjab Kings Move to 3rd Spot After Beating Rajasthan Royals, Sanju Samson Pips KL Rahul to Take Orange Cap
The big-hitting Gayle last played for West Indies in their home series against India in August 2019 after the 50-over World Cup that year.
He had earlier said that the 2019 World Cup matches would be his last appearances for West Indies.
“Chris Gayle has performed very well in recent tournaments and the selection panel thinks that he can still add great value to our team,” Roger Harper, Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) lead selector, said in a media release.
“As we build towards the defence of the T20 World Cup, the opportunity is being taken to determine our best team and squad as we go forward.”
Gayle is the highest run-scorer in T20 history. He has played in 103 Tests, 301 ODIs and 58 T20Is since making his international debut in 1999.
As for Edwards, Harper stated that his recall was to “give the bowling the potent firepower needed”.
Edwards, who played 55 Tests for West Indies, moved to Hampshire in 2015 on a Kolpak deal. However, following the UK’s recent departure from the European Union, Edwards expressed his desire to make an international comeback.
Off-spinner Kevin Sinclair earned his maiden West Indies selection and left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein got his first T20I call-up.
The selection panel also named the squad for the ODI series against the visting Sri Lankans to be played between March 10-14 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
West Indies T20I squad: Kieron Pollard (C), Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair.
West Indies ODI squad: Kieron Pollard (c), Shai Hope, Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Kyle Mayers, Jason Mohammed, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Kevin Sinclair.