Cricket: Gayle adds to Windies injury woes

Injury-plagued West Indies were dealt a major blow on Friday when hard-hitting opener Chris Gayle was ruled out of the key cricket World Cup match against Ireland with an abdominal strain.

Gayle, 31, has struggled with the injury ever since the team landed in Mohali on Sunday but he is likely to be fit in time for the game against England on March 17.

West Indies, currently placed third in Group B, will play their last league game against India on March 20 in Chennai.

"Gayle has been struggling with it (injury) ever since we got here," West Indies spokesman Philip Spooner told AFP.

"The decision not to play him was taken this morning. We will monitor him on a daily basis and hopefully he will be available for selection for the game against England next week."

Gayle had also been ill (sore throat) at the start of the game against Bangladesh in Dhaka but showed little signs of discomfort in making 37 off 36 balls as his team completed a nine-wicket victory over the tournament co-hosts.

Batting at the top of the order, the left-order has made 8,036 runs from 226 one-day internationals at a strike rate of 83.68.

Gayle is the latest to join a growing list of injured players for the Caribbean side who are already without experienced all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.

Bravo was forced to fly back home after injuring his knee in the first game against South Africa in New Delhi.

Wicketkeeeper Carlton Baugh and exciting opener Adrian Barath were ruled out with injuries just before the start of the tournament, forcing the team management to call for last-minute reinforcements.

Despite missing some of their first-choice players, the West Indies beat the Netherlands and Bangladesh after a seven-wicket defeat to South Africa.

- AFP

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