Chris Gayle's inclusion will enhance Jamaica's chances

Chris Gayle (above) recently scored the fastest half-century in the Big Bash League © Getty Images

St Lucia: Jan 18, 2013

Chris Gayle, one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket, is arriving at St.Lucia to bolster Jamaica‘s chances of capturing the only regional title that has eluded them.

Talismanic opener Gayle will replace the injured Andre McCarthy in the line-up and is expected to play the side’s final match of the preliminary round of the Caribbean T20 against Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) Friday, reports CMC.

The Jamaicans have already strengthened their play-off chances by brushing aside Guyana and are the favourites against CCC.

Jamaica are hoping to advance to Saturday’s two-team play-off and a possible clash in Sunday’s final with defending champions and unbeaten Trinidad and Tobago.

“The Jamaica Cricket Association sought approval for Gayle to replace the injured McCarthy,” said a statement from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Thursday.

“The WICB Caribbean T20 2013 Technical Committee approved the replacement.”

Gayle was not included in the original squad because of his contract with Sydney Thunder in the ongoing Australian Big Bash League.

The big-hitting left-hander is joining the Caribbean T20 roughly one week after emerging from a run drought to hit the fastest half-century in the Big Bash tournament.

His presence is expected to lift the fortunes of Jamaica, currently second in the tournament standings with 13 points from 5 matches. The former Jamaica and West Indies captain was a key member of the Windies team which won the ICC World T20 trophy in Sri Lanka last year.

In his T20 career he has played 125 matches and scored 4,475 runs at a strike rate of 152.10

Gayle has scored a record eight centuries, and hit a whopping 316 sixes.