The West Indies' captain fears the Indian batsmen could exploit his fast bowlers on the small Barbados ground.
Gayle wary of falling short against India
Shaun Tait and Dirk Nannes exposed India's discomfort against the short, rising ball the other night, but Chris Gayle is not chomping at the bit to unleash Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach tonight in a crucial Super Eight game for the two sides. Australians Tait and Nannes snared six wickets between them as India started their second-round campaign with a 49-run defeat on a bouncy Kensington Oval track on Friday.
The pace duo tested the "flat-track bullies" with plenty of rib-cage ticklers, and the consequences, for MS Dhoni's side, were devastating. Gayle, however, is wary of using the same tactics given the short boundaries of the historic ground on the outskirts of Bridgetown, the Barbados capital. "We can use the short ball, but at the same time we have to be careful because it is a small ground and they have quality batters who can make adjustments," said Gayle after his side's 57-run defeat against Sri Lanka on Friday. "But it's certainly something we will put into our plans."
The West Indies' fielding - they dropped a number of easy chances agaisnt Sri Lanka - concerned their captaiin. "We'll discuss what happened and it's back to the drawing board," said Gayle. "It's a must-win for both teams and it should be a good game.We are still confident we can win the two games and move on to the semi-final." Dhoni, the India captain, admits his batsmen have a weakness against express, short-pitched deliveries, but is confident of overcoming the gap in their batting arsenal.
"If somebody bowls 150kph short stuff then you have to be really good at pulling which isn't our natural strength," Dhoni told Cricinfo after the loss to Australia. "Most players from India are very good at cutting the ball, but only a few are good pullers against the new ball. "The adrenalin sometimes get the better of you. You try to fight fire with fire and it doesn't always work and this was an example of that.
"The aggressive approach has worked for us in the past, but you just have to be a bit careful. "We knew we would be peppered with short balls, which we did not handle too well. It is not easy to attack bowlers who bowl at speeds at 145 kph. "It's the same stuff that Indians have been facing for the last 10, 15, 20 years and some of the best [batsmen] in the world have come from India. So there's no reason why they can't do it.
"During the first T20 World Cup we played in Durban on one of the fastest tracks you'll see and we beat England, South Africa and Australia. So we have been successful on and off, but there is room to improve in this aspect." Proof of Dhoni's conviction will come tonight should Gayle decide to use the firepower at his disposal. Whatever the strategies, a defeat in this game will be the end of the semi-final dream for the losing side.
* Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi India v West Indies, 5.30pm: Australia v Sri Lanka, 9.30pm, both on CricOne