Wellington: West Indies bowling coach Curtly Ambrose says he is confident that flamboyant opener Chris Gayle will turn out for the regional side when it faces New Zealand in the fourth and final quarter-final of the cricket World Cup at the Westpac Stadium here on Saturday.
For the second day running, Gayle did not train with the West Indies on Thursday as he continued to receive treatment on his back following a cortisone injection on Wednesday, reports CMC.
However, Ambrose believes Gayle will be among the eleven West Indians on the field, given his personality and the importance of the game.
“We expect him to play on Saturday. It’s a big game and we know what kind of player he is and as long as he can go out there and start and bat for us... which is the most important thing and get us a good start,” said Ambrose.
“But we just have to wait on Saturday to see how he feels but I know the kind of player that he is and the kind of man that he is and knowing the importance of this game I believe he is going to play.”
The West Indies qualified for the quarter-finals after a strong display against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the final Pool B encounter, winning the crunch game by six wickets.
They have had a disappointing journey in the tournament so far though, suffering a massive 257-run defeat at the hands of South Africa, aside from four-wicket defeats to India and Ireland.
“We have completed our first goal and that was to make the knock-out stages even though a lot of people didn’t expect us to reach this far. Preparation has been going very well at the moment,” said Ambrose.
“It’s pretty cold here in Wellington but we are ready for Saturday. We are full of confidence. We believe we can win this game and we are going to do our utmost to win this game on Saturday.“
New Zealand are the favourites on paper ahead of the clash, having won all of their matches in the group stage.
However, opponents continue to be wary of the unpredictable West Indies known for possessing a batting line-up with players capable of turning matches around.
"When you think they're down, one of their players comes out and plays an explosive innings or bowls a spell that can take you out of the game," New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said.
"Sometimes, it's easier to play a side that's a bit more predictable whereas the West Indies on their day are exceptional.”
New Zealand boast an impressive bowling line-up in the form of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Adam Milne and Mitchell McClenaghan.
However, the West Indies coach believes his bowling attack needs to improve.
“I am a bit of a realist and we are still a little inconsistent with our bowling. I am not one of those guys who are going to say we are bowling well when we are not,” he said.
“We are still a bit inconsistent and we are working hard to get it right because this is it. This is not like the preliminary once you win or you lose you have another chance. This is it.”