Former West Indian batsman Brian Lara has insisted performances in this year's Indian Premier League will have plenty of bearing on whether batsman Chris Gayle and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo's ambition of being named in the squad for the T20 World Cup later this year.
Gayle and Bravo will play for the Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings, respectively, in the 2020 IPL. Punjab and Chennai are priced at 10.00 and 6.00, respectively by bet365 to win the 2020 IPL.
“I think the IPL is going to be a huge point or signal for who is actually going to carry on,” Lara told ESPNcricinfo.
“It's still going to be five months after the IPL for the World Cup. Fitness levels are very important, but a gruesome tournament like the IPL is going to tell the West Indies selectors who are the players that they really need going into the last four months of preparation for the World Cup.”
Fellow batsman Nicholas Pooran will be Gayle's team-mate at the Kings XI Punjab. West Indies fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell will also play for Punjab. All-rounder Kieron Pollard, who recently welcomed a 500th appearance in professional T20 cricket, will represent the Mumbai Indians.
“I like Pooran, he's a left-handed batsman and I think that he's setting down and understanding his responsibilities more now,” added Lara.
“It's a tremendous achievement first of all to play so much T20 games, it's unbelievable. Pollard has been around for quite some time. I remember his first game was 2007 for the World Cup. Obviously, he's played a lot of franchise cricket around the world and I think the experience he has gained under different captains…he has captained teams in franchise cricket around the world, he brings a lot of experience.”
West Indies at T20 World Cup
The West Indies have been pooled with Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and two qualifying teams for the 2020 T20 World Cup. The men from the Caribbean have own the tournament twice – and are the current champions.
“Later in the year for the T20 World Cup I feel the kind of squad that we have – Shimron Hetmyer, Pooran, Pollard himself, Bravo, I see Andre Russell is back, Evin Lewis, I think we've got a group of players in which any one or two or three of them can turn things on and beat the best in the world at what they do,” concluded Lara.