West Indies focusing on team India, not just Kohli: Gayle

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Mumbai, March 29 (IANS) West Indies’ swashbuckling batsman Chris Gayle on Tuesday praised Virat Kohli for his sublime form but stressed his team will not focus only on the right-hand batsman but the entire opposition team.

Hosts India will play against the West Indies in the second World Twenty20 semi-final clash at the Wankhede stadium here on March 31. Kohli led the way with a sublime 82 runs off 51 balls to steer India to a thumping six-wicket win over Australia on Sunday to enter the semi-finals.

“I am hoping, please don’t fire Virat. He is in good form so, he will be a good wicket as well. We have to play according to the pressure situation and play within our strength and they actually take it from there,” Gayle said.

“But we are not going to only focus on Virat, there are so many match winners and anyone of them can actually fire and in any particular day as well. India is a huge team, batting line-up is superb, but Virat is the man who stands out at this point of time.”

“As I said they have lot of match winners like our side has a lot of match winners. And it is not always going to be about me, if I get out, someone else must step up and take the baton and fire as well to help our team go to a winning position. But Virat has been fantastic right throughout the year. He still can get runs but on a losing cause, he will be happy with that as well,” the 36-year-old added.

The West Indies, 2012 World T20 winners, notched up three successive wins at the start of the tournament against England, Sri Lanka, South Africa. But suffered a setback after losing to minnows Afghanistan in their last group stage match.

Speaking on the loss against Afghanistan he said, “As a team we wanted to keep the winning consistency going, at that stage we did not want to lose a game. But these things happen as it is T20 cricket. On any day any particular team can beat any team.”

“Disappointed with the loss but we are glad we got that game out of the way and as we are two more games away and we can actually lift the trophy. Our camp is in a good mood as well, and hoping to give our best on Thursday,” he said.

Gayle blasted an unbeaten 100 in just 48 balls to steer his side to a comfortable win against England in their campaign opener.

The batsman said despite India having world class bowlers, he will play positively and according to the situation.

“(Mahendra Singh) Dhoni is a very unpredictable captain. He might bring in (Ravichandran) Ashwin and might not also. But I am looking at what I can do and not focus on one single bowler. There are lot of bowlers who are bowling well. Ashish Nehra is bowling well, with new ball. We just need to keep our eyes open, play according to the situation. Chris Gayle will always be positive, doesn’t matter which bowler is going to bowl,” he said.

The left-handed batsman praised his team’s bowling unit for stepping in when it mattered most.

“We have Samuel Badree No.1 T20 bowler as well, who has done a fantastic job and also Sulieman Benn, also Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell as well. So it is a fantastic all-round team as well. We are going up against a strong, favourite team India. I hope it comes out to be a good game for the fans to cheer about and West Indies come on top,” Gayle concluded.

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