Windies start as equals against India: Gayle

Published: Wednesday, May 17, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Montego Bay:West Indies batsman Chris Gayle believes that despite being placed much lower then India in the ICC rankings, the hosts would start the ODI series against Rahul Dravid's men with an even chance of winning.

''Obviously they are ranked above us in the One-day points table but as we are at home and have hit a bit of form I think it's pretty even and should be close,'' Gayle wrote in his column for a website.

''Overall, I think the sides go into the series with an even chance of winning. We will soon find out,'' the batsman added.

After the comfortable win over Zimbabwe in the recently concluded home series, Gayle said the hosts were on a high but admitted that India presented a completely different challenge and would be a tougher opposition compared to the minnows.

''India are a totally different proposition, they are a top team and have recently come off a good (One-day) victory against England so they will be on a high as we are,'' Gayle said.

''We know it will be a difficult series and we won't have things as easy as against Zimbabwe. But I'm up for the challenge and I know the rest of the boys are also looking forward to it,'' the optimistic left-hander added.

Gayle said Sachin Tendulkar's absence in the ODI series would be felt not just by the visitors but by his team as well because ''I always prefer to play against the best and he is certainly that.'' The batsman said he was hopeful of Sachin's comeback in the Test series and felt that Team India would not be a lesser force without him in the one-dayers.

''It's a shame that Sachin Tendulkar is not fit for the One-day series but hopefully he will be out here in the Caribbean for the Tests. But even without him they still have a lot of capable players,'' he said.

Gayle said he was not very familiar with the other names, especially the bowlers, in the visiting team except for Harbhajan Singh but was confident of matching up to the Indian challenge.

''I don't know too many of them as they have a few new faces. I know what the like of Harbhajan Singh is all about, he's a great bowler, but as for the others it will be a matter of thinking on my feet and adapting during the match,'' Gayle said.

Impressed with Rahul Dravid's captaincy, he said the Indian skipper was progressing well and added that his team was bracing up for a tough series against the Indians.

''I've been impressed with the way he (Dravid) has begun his captaincy career but one thing you always know that you will get against him is a contest. He is a very tough competitor and very strong-minded,'' he observed.

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