Cricket: Gayle doesn't like Windies' curfew but will wear it

LONDON - West Indies opening batsman Chris Gayle expressed scepticism yesterday about a curfew that has been imposed on the touring team in an effort to instil some discipline after their disappointing World Cup performance.

The West Indies, who meet England at Lord's in the first of four tests starting tonight (NZT), failed to advance past the second round of the cup in the Caribbean amid reports of late nights and indiscipline within the ranks.

As a response, manager Mike Findlay has imposed a nightly curfew on a young side who are being captained by Ramnaresh Sarwan following Brian Lara's decision to retire.

"I would not agree with the curfew but it's the team rule ... so you have to go along with it," Gayle said.

"I'd like guys to be more free to do what they want to do for the lead-up to the first test match."

Gayle, who showed only intermittent glimpses of his explosive strokeplay at the cup, is essential to the West Indies' hopes of competing with England, who remain a tough side to beat at home despite their 5-0 Ashes series loss in Australia.

"We can push any side but it's not going to be easy in English conditions," he said.

The West Indies, who have lost 15 successive away series - excluding those against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh - since drawing with England in 1995, have not played a test match this year.

Only 48.4 overs were possible in the rain-ruined match against Somerset, the tourists' only practice game, with two complete days of the scheduled three washed out.

Gayle bruised a thumb while batting on Sunday, Runako Morton retired hurt with a groin strain after scoring a century, while Daren Ganga required stitches over an eye when he was hit in the nets.

In a rare piece of good news for the West Indies, caretaker coach David Moore said all three would be fit for the first test.

- REUTERS

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