ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Star West Indies duo race to full fitness
Captain Jason Holder believes Chris Gayle and Andre Russell have benefited from a six-day break between World Cup matches
Louis Cameron in Nottingham
6 June 2019, 09:07 AM AEST
West Indies are optimistic Chris Gayle and Andre Russell will be fit to take on Australia, with the pair looming as major weapons on a ground that's become synonymous with monster totals.
In a rare low-scoring game at the Nottingham venue last week, Russell (2-4) limped off the ground with a knee issue after a devastating three-over spell, while Gayle (50 off 34 balls) was restricted in his quick-fire innings by a back concern.
Both players have benefited from an extended six-day break between their first and second World Cup matches and Windies captain Jason Holder says the key pair have firmed to hold their spots.
"We've had a few days off, they've been recovering quite nicely," Holder told reporters. "We expect both of them to hopefully be fit and ready to go tomorrow. We've still got some time to go, so we'll make a final call in the morning.
"The beauty about both of those guys is they've both played enough cricket. We just tend to trust them, take their word and make a final determination.
"Chris was at practice the last couple of days so Chris for me is all well and ready to go. Russell will be assessed today and we've very hopeful he'll be fit tomorrow."
Both players appeared uninhibited at training on Wednesday afternoon.
Russell tuned up for his return to ODI cricket after a year-long absence from international cricket with a stunning Indian Premier League campaign.
The former Sydney Thunder allrounder became the first player in the tournament's history to finish with a strike-rate above 200 (minimum five innings), while he showed he'd lost none of his pace with the ball when he hospitalised Usman Khawaja with a vicious bouncer in a practice game against the Aussies last month.
Gayle meanwhile, even at 39, remains one of world cricket's most destructive opening batsmen and became the most prolific six-hitter in World Cup history in the Windies’ seven-wicket win over Pakistan on Friday.
Aaron Finch, who confirmed Australia are likely to field an unchanged XI, said his bowlers will need a mix of discipline and unpredictability to unsettle Gayle.
"You have to be right on you have to be super disciplined with your line and length and also be a bit unpredictable, so it contradicts itself a bit," explained the Australian captain.
"But if you keep bowling the same ball over and over he will look to dominate you. He looks to dominate attacks early to put you on the back foot into a defensive mindset.
"Guys who can take the game away from you quickly if you don't get them out, they are going to do it regardless - you can't stop them scoring heavily.
"You just have to keep being positive and aggressive and keep taking the wicket-taking option."
The two highest scores in ODI history have been scored at Trent Bridge, including England’s 6-481 against an undermanned Australia last year.
Finch said the unusual dimensions of the ground, stemming from the stand on the Bridgford Road square boundary cutting across the field of play, will be an important factor for both teams.
"It's going to play a big part, no doubt," Finch said of the short boundary. "When teams have got left- and right-hand combinations, they've always got somebody able to target that boundary.
"We can use our speed between the wickets to that long side and try and put some pressure on it, and on the other side build some pressure by cutting off them twos and really restricting easy runs out there.
"That's something that will be taken into account throughout the game."
2019 World Cup
Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
June 9: India v Australia, The Oval
June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord's
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord's
Sync Australia's World Cup schedule to your calendar HERE
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE