"I am not Jesus Christ. I don't know what's going on in his mind. I know he is really pumped up to play here," said Darren Sammy on Chris Gayle's mood ahead of Sunday's blockbuster ICC World Twenty20 clash between defending champions West Indies and India in Mirpur. This Group of Death clash will see a few 'personal' battles as India aim to overturn their poor T20 record against the colourful Caribbeans.
Gayle has been inconsistent of late. India will be keen to exploit this 'weakness'. If West Indies bat first, Mirpur will see a Gayle versus Ravichandran Ashwin battle straightaway. The Chennai off-spinner opened the bowling against Pakistan and the ploy paid off. It is likely that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will employ this masterstroke once again to keep Gayle quiet. In T20 cricket, it's not always about bagging wickets. If Ashwin can bowl an economical spell against Gayle, India would have won a big mental battle as the middle-order will be under pressure to score.
According to Sunil Gavaskar, Gayle and Dwayne Bravo will be the batsmen India will have to watch out for. Sammy, whose lust for sixes can be dangerous, also figures in Gavaskar's list of Indian 'enemies' in the Caribbean camp. The mood for a 'fight' was already set in a press conference on Saturday where Suresh Raina and Sammy traded verbal volleys. Raina said the West Indians "don't know how to take one's and two's and can only hit sixes." Sammy, normally a friendly and jovial person, seems to have accepted the 'challenge'.