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  • Gayle cautious against weakened India

    West Indies captain Chris Gayle has said he is not underestimating the Indians despite the visitors fielding an understrength team for the four-match ODI series in Jamaica and St Lucia.

    Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan have opted for rest while Virender Sehwag and Suresh Raina failed to make the short tour due to injury concerns. Looking ahead, Gayle said India's poor showing in the ICC World Twenty20 - they failed to win any of their Super Eight games - would have no bearing on the forthcoming ODIs. West Indies reached the semi-finals before crashing out to the Sri Lankans but Gayle insisted it was too early to jump the gun and pick a favourite.

    "It is never a walkover against India," Gayle told PTI. "There are a lot of guys still there to give us a lot of trouble, so we just have to stick to the game plan and make it a successful one."

    Gayle's team-mate Ramnaresh Sarwan also agreed. "The Indians are a very good one-day team and while they may be without a couple of their players, they will prove to be a handful for us," Sarwan said. "But we are in good form and have confidence in our abilities and hopefully, beginning Friday, we can get a good start to the series."

    The Indians haven't had the best of fortunes in the Caribbean over the last few years. In 2006, they were comprehensively beaten 4-1 before crashing out of the World Cup in the first round the following year.

    West Indies also announced changes to their one-day side for the first two games, the most notable casualty being their in-form bowler Fidel Edwards who's nursing a back injury.

    "There are a few changes in the squad, there is Darren Bravo and [Narsingh] Deonarine coming in and it is a good opportunity for them to play an important part against India," Gayle said.

    Despite bowing out of the semi-finals, Gayle was happy with his team's comeback after a lacklustre start to the tour, which included a Test and ODI series defeat to England.

    "It was a pretty decent performance. We tried our best but in the end it was not to be," Gayle said. "But I am not disheartened. In fact, I am proud of the guys, as at the championship, not many were expecting us to reach that far.

    "The aim was to bring home the trophy and make everyone happy, especially the fans. Having said that, however, it was a wonderful experience, one that I think will serve the team well going into the future and one that should serve us well when we host the next World Twenty20 Championship here in the Caribbean."

    Meanwhile, three Indian players - M Vijay, S Badrinath and Abhishek Nayar - are yet to depart for the West Indies as they are awaiting their UK transit visas. "They will get their visas today and are set to leave tonight (Monday)," a BCCI source told PTI. "They are scheduled to reach Jamaica by tomorrow evening local time."

    The series begins on Friday at Sabina Park.

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