Gayle absence surprises England

  • Last Updated: February 22 2014, 21:12 GMT

Stuart Broad must plan for a world-beating absence in the opposition ranks, as well his own, after West Indies announced injured Chris Gayle will miss three one-day internationals against England.

Stuart Broad: Looking for England to rise to the challenge
Stuart Broad: Looking for England to rise to the challenge

Broad, set to lead his country in those ODIs and then three Twenty20s in the Caribbean over the next three weeks before moving on to the short format World Cup in Bangladesh, was already planning for a future without Kevin Pietersen.

The England and Wales Cricket Board controversially called time on the international career of their record run-scorer this month, in the aftermath of their wretched Ashes tour this winter.

But Broad thought master-blaster batsman Gayle would be a potential thorn in England's side here.

Instead, West Indies ruled him out of the Antigua ODIs with stiffness in his lower back - although Gayle will doubtless still hope to be back for the Twenty20s in Barbados.

Broad said: "We know what Chris Gayle offers. He can win a game on his own."

The hosts have replaced Gayle with Dwayne Smith - a player whose big-hitting is well-known to English cricket followers.

Broad added: "I'm sure the West Indies will be desperate to get him [Gayle] fit for the World Cup.

"I'm sure they won't risk him too much in the next few weeks.

"As an England side, you want to test yourself against the best players in the world, and Chris Gayle is one of those."

Getting used to life as an England player without superstar batsman Pietersen in tow, meanwhile, may be tricky.

It was Pietersen who was man of the tournament when England won their only global trophy to date, the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean four years ago.

Broad hopes others in his squad can rise to the challenge.

"I've played my whole international career with Kev ... and he's been part of one of the most successful eras of English cricket that there's ever been," Broad said.

"He was the shining light of that tournament [in 2010], and without him we would not have won it - there's no doubt.

"But there are players in this changing room who have the same match-winning ability.

"When someone leaves a spot in a side, there are always opportunities to overtake it.

"We've got the guys who can win games for England here."

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