West Indies wicket-keeper batsman Shai Hope has hailed the addition of veteran Chris Gayle to the ODI squad for the upcoming series against England, terming him as a player who is going to strengthen the team 'a lot'.
Gayle has not been a part of the West Indies ODI squad since July 2018 when the side faced off against Bangladesh. However, the 39-year-old cricketer has been included in the side for the opening two matches of the five-match series against England.
Hope has termed the influence of a player like Gayle who has scored 9,727 ODI runs at an average of 36.98 in 284 ODIs with 49 half-centuries and 15 tons to his credit, as a welcome one.
"It’s great, just to see him (Gayle) at nets. Good laugh, good shots as well, and he’s going to strengthen the team a lot," ICC quoted Hope as saying.
"We know the importance that Gayle brings to the team. He has a lot of experience and we need to make sure we use that experience and strengthen the entire team," he added.
England are currently ranked No 1 in the latest ODI rankings, while the West Indies are currently placed ninth. However, the latter will be optimistic of a positive result in the series, following a 2-1 win in the recently concluded three-match Test series.
"It’s a lot to look forward to. It's a very exciting time, especially leading up to the World Cup so I’m sure the guys are ready and raring to go. We are just coming off a Test series win and that was fantastic for everyone involved and the fans, so it is important for us to continue in that vein and try to get the series win as well," concluded Hope.