(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — West Indies Head Coach Floyd Reifer has praised veteran batsman Christopher Gayle for his behind-the-scenes role in guiding younger players in the team.
The Caribbean side was eliminated from the ICC World Cup at the league stage, with the West Indies talisman playing the final of his five global 50-over tournaments.
“Chris is a legend, it’s a pleasure to have Chris in our dressing room,” Reifer said regarding the 39-year-old’s impact.
“I believe in having senior players amongst junior players. The junior players can learn a lot from senior players — a guy like Chris Gayle, who has been to five World Cups. He definitely passes on a lot of knowledge and the guys are learning,” he told journalists during the mixed zone on Thursday, moments after the team beat Afghanistan by 23 runs.
Gayle, a Jamaican, has said he will make himself available to cap his career for the West Indies against touring India this summer.
Wicketkeeper/batsman Shai Hope paid tribute to Gayle, noting the footprint he makes within the West Indies camp.
“He’s just one of those guys that I’m sure the entire world will miss him when he goes. It’s going to be a sad day for cricket.
“I don’t think we’re going to cry about it [Gayle’s departure] but I think that we have a lot to cherish. I know he’s one of the better players in world cricket, and we’re just happy to have him on our team. I’m sure the guys will do something for him and I know he will appreciate it,” Hope, 25, said during the post-match press conference.
Hope and fellow batsmen Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer all had their moments, while left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell was outstanding with the ball and in the field.
Reifer said the experience garnered puts them in good stead for the future.
“The positive thing that came out of this World Cup for us is those guys along with Sheldon Cottrell. I’m confident a lot of these guys will give a good showing as we go forward,” he said, noting that Hope, Pooran, and Hetmyer all average over 40 in 50-over cricket.
Reifer added that he also expects them to possess the capacity to be successful in all formats.
“Guys have to be good enough to adjust. All the great players in the world right now, they play Test cricket and they play T20 cricket, so it’s about being able to adapt to the different conditions, and the different tournaments, and different formats of the game,” he explained.