NAPIER, New Zealand (CMC) — A nagging back injury has put flamboyant West Indies opener Chris Gayle in doubt for their all-important do-or-die World Cup clash with United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday (Saturday Jamaica time).
Gayle is struggling with his back injury and could miss the crucial final preliminary-round clash which will determine whether they qualify for the quarter-finals.
The veteran opener was unable to train with his teammates in Napier on Wednesday, remaining at the team hotel to rest in the hope of speeding his recovery.
“He is struggling, but we have back up in Johnson Charles,” said coach Stuart Williams.
“We’d love him to play all the games (but) we’ll just have to manage him better.”
Gayle, 35, blasted a World Cup record 215 in the win over Zimbabwe, but his form in other games has been patchy with 36 against Ireland, four in the game with Pakistan, just three in the loss to South Africa and 21 facing India.
West Indies have just four points from five games after two wins and three defeats and need to beat the UAE handsomely to boost their run rate if they are to have any hope of squeezing into the quarter-finals.
“Our destiny is in our own hands and on Sunday we’ll know exactly what we’ll have to do to qualify,” Williams added.
After the loss to Ireland, the Windies comfortably beat Pakistan and Zimbabwe before suffering crushing defeats against South Africa and India.
“In reality it’s better to have (bad performances) earlier than now,” Williams said. “Sometimes it’s up and sometimes it’s down, so we’ve just got to get the balance right, whether it’s batting, bowling or fielding.”
Ireland and Pakistan, both on six points — two ahead of the West Indies — clash in Adelaide on the same day.
“Right now we don’t have a choice. We can only finish fourth (in pool B),” Williams said.
“So once we qualify, nobody will want to play the West Indies. On our day we will beat anyone in this tournament and our men will be ready for that.”