England recently won a three-match Test series 2-1, after West Indies, belying their reputation as a weak outfit in cricket's longest format, upset the odds to win the second Test at Headingley. "It's probably one of our strengths as well".
He goes into the opening game at Old Trafford in good form having made 40 from 21 deliveries in their 20-over win over Eoin Morgan's side at Durham on Saturday, having become the first man to hit 100 T20i sixes in the process, and Gayle's desire for more landmark moments could prompt a Test return.
Almost 13,000 spectators at Riverside Ground will miss their local hero Stokes in action and also his battle with West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite that was one of the defining moment in the 2016 World T20 final at Eden Gardens.
He added: "Evin is one to look out for in the future too, especially in ODI (one-day international) cricket".
There is no place for the exciting leg-spinner Mason Crane even though he impressed on twenty20 debut, also against South Africa, while Sam Billings, Liam Livingstone, Craig Overton and Mark Wood all miss out from the early season squad.
Big-hitting opener Gayle was due to return to action at Stormont after being absent from ODIs during a breakdown in relations between some of the players and their employers.
"I just want to move on in my career". The left-hander made his first appearance for Windies since the World T20 Final in a nine-wicket T20 win over India in Jamaica in July, scoring 18 as opening partner Evin Lewis smashed 125 not out from 62 balls to top Gayle's record for the highest score by a West Indian in a T20 worldwide.
And some fine death bowling at the back end of the innings helped dismiss England for 155 and deny Morgan's side revenge after their defeat in the World T20 final 18 months ago at Eden Gardens.
Watch England take on Windies in a one-off T20 worldwide this Saturday, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6pm.
Though Jason Roy was dismissed via the first ball of the England reply, Hales struck 43 from just 17 balls to put the home side in charge.
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