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Chris Gayle says West Indies women will draw on experience at ICC Women's Cricket World Cup

Image: Chris Gayle hopes West Indies get off to a flyer at the Women's World Cup

Chris Gayle says West Indies Women have nothing to fear ahead of the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup.

The Windies stunned Australia in India last year to win their maiden Women's World T20, hours before the men beat England to complete an historic double for the West Indies.

West Indies men's and women's players celebrate after their respective wins in the finals of the ICC World Twenty20 2016
Image: West Indies male and female players celebrate after both winning their finals at the ICC World T20

Defending champions Australia start as favourites for this year's tournament, which starts with three-time winners England hosting India in Derby on June 24, live on Sky Sports.

But Gayle says the women's team, who face the Southern Stars in their opener at Taunton on June 26, will take heart from their first major tournament win last year, having already proven that "anything is possible".

"The team has experience now," the big-hitting Jamaican told Sky Sports at a fundraising launch event for the Chris Gayle Foundation.

"England is not an easy place to come and play cricket so hopefully they can make the adjustments required as soon as possible.

West Indies's Hayley Matthews (left) and Stafanie Taylor pump fists
Image: Hayley Matthews (L) and Stafanie Taylor put on 120 runs as West Indies swept to Women's T20 glory

"But I think they can gravitate from their experience and build on it even though they will face some very tough opponents in England and of course, Australia.

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"They have already shown that once they get some momentum behind them anything is possible. I wish them all the very best for the tournament."

Gayle is one of the most recognisable cricketers on the planet and has played 422 matches across formats for the West Indies, scoring almost 18,000 international runs.

Chris Gayle has a T20 international strike-rate of 142.59
Image: Gayle has hit 98 sixes in 50 T20 internationals for the Windies

The 37-year-old has come a long way from humble beginnings in the tough Rollington Town district of Kingston, and Gayle puts a lot of his success down to a woman - his very first PE teacher.

"Miss Hamilton was my old primary school PE teacher who coached football, cricket and table tennis," Gayle said.

"She played cricket for Jamaica and for me as a child growing up it was such a pleasure to learn so much from a woman. She made a huge impact on my cricket career and I'm very thankful to be able to say that today."

Gayle's foundation will help sustain the work of the Chris Gayle Academy, which already supports 20 youngsters through a programme of personal development and employability training, alongside playing cricket.

Image: Gayle can be a powerful role model for women's cricket says Opening Boundaries founder

Halima Khan, founder of the Opening Boundaries charity, hopes her organisation can work in collaboration with Gayle's foundation and says the man himself has a part to play in helping raise greater awareness of women's sport.

"We're keen to work more closely with the Chris Gayle Foundation to promote more women and girls in cricket," she said at the fundraising dinner.

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Watch the Women’s World Cup exclusively live on Sky Sports from June 24 as Heather Knight’s team hope to inspire take home the trophy.

"We've seen the transformative effect it can have on young people's lives and Chris himself has said he was inspired by first his PE teacher, who was a woman.

"He's a very powerful role model and male role models have a very important role to play to promote women in sport at both grassroots level and the elite level."

Watch England's 2017 ICC Women's World Cup clash with India live on Sky Sports on June 24.

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