Will deal with apology issue after Regional Super50
His body language suggest that former West Indies Captain Chris Gayle is ‘super cool’ and not affected by the turbulent relationship between him and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) which has resulted in him being ignored at a time when the West Indies team is struggling for a proper opening pair.
But the destructive 32-year-old Jamaican left-hander is hurting and says despite his demeanor on the field he is under plenty of pressure and thinks the WICB is playing ‘mind games with him.
A Superstar after his exploits in the IPL in India, Gayle has two Test triple centuries and averages over 40 in Tests, ODI and First-Class cricket but has not worn West Indies colours since March when he played in the Quarterfinals of the World Cup.
Gayle’s great form has continued in the Regional Super50 where he is the only batsman with 200 runs and his pugnacious 147 against CCC delighted a large crowd, most of whom were there to see him entertain at a time when regional teams lack ‘crowd pullers’ and the batting in this tournament has been ordinary on the slow Guyana pitches.
Gayle’s absence from the West Indies team is a result of an emotional interview he did with KLASS Sports Radio in his native Jamaica in April and the opener with 91 Tests and 228 ODIs since his International debut in 1999, has been asked to retract his comments and issue and apology to West Indies Coach Ottis Gibson if he is to be considered for selection.
“I received a message about the apology at a team meeting the day before we (Jamaica) had to play the Leewards Islands here….in the middle of a regional tournament….I think they (WICB) are playing mind games with Chris Gayle. I have told them that I want to focus on winning this tournament for Jamaica and I will deal with the apology issue at the end of this competition,” Gayle revealed.
The big-hitter with 13 Test and 19 ODI tons to his name said that what the WICB has sent to the media is what they have sent to him concerning the issue and is confused as to what he needs to apologize about.
“They need to say exactly what Chris Gayle should apologize for….what in the interview? I don’t think the Board wants to solve this issue. This needs to be closed as soon as possible and they need to be clear on what I should apologize for. This whole thing is sad and I am getting fed up with my name being all around, questioning my commitment to West Indies cricket,” Gayle said.
“Over the years I have shed blood, sweat and tears for West Indies cricket and its sad that some would question my commitment to West Indies cricket. I stand for what I believe in…that’s the type of person I am…..playing again for the West Indies is in their (WICB) hands,” the Jamaica Captain said.
Gayle said that when he last spoke to the Coach he was told by Gibson, a former Barbadian pacer who took two wickets and averaged 91.66 with the ball in his two Tests between 1995 and 1999 that it was up to the selectors to pick him.
Gayle who also has 72 Test wickets and 156 at the ODI level, said he has not heard from the selectors since his last conversation with Gibson.
When pressed for an answer on if he would apologize Gayle said his focus is on leading Jamaica to their first title since 2007 and will deal with other issues after the Regional Super50.
Gayle, one of the most sought after t20 players, has signed for Australia’s Big Bash which will make him unavailable for the Caribbean t20 from January 9-23 next year and disqualify him for selection on the West Indies team for next year’s t20 World Cup.
He has also been targeted by Middlesex as an overseas player ahead of the 2012 t20 season.
“If you’re asking whether we would like Chris Gayle in our side then yes, of course we would,” said Middlesex’s director of cricket, Angus Fraser, “but whether we can afford him in another thing entirely.”
Zimbabwe’s domestic franchises are also apparently eyeing up a slew of Twenty20 superstars for the Stanbic Bank 20 Series and Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Dirk Nannes are three more players who could join Shaun Tait in signing short-term overseas contracts for the tournament, which begins on November 24.
But Gayle yesterday said his involvement in the Big Bash was because the Caribbean t20 tournament was initially scheduled to commence on January 19 before being pulled forward to January 9.
Some have suggested that WIPA’s involvement in Gayle’s issue with the WICB has caused more harm than good but Gayle is adamant that WIPA is not the problem.
“WIPA is not the problem! They have helped many players in the region and it’s ridiculous that the WICB don’t want to deal with WIPA. There were times when the WICB have been dealing directly with the players instead of going through WIPA and those were some of the things that WIPA has opposed,” Gayle said.
“What goes for one should go for all….others have been picked for International cricket without playing for their regional teams and I believe that Chris Gayle is a target”.
Gayle, who has 29 First-Class tons since his debut in 1998, was also critical of the new points system for the Regional Super50 competition which could see teams losing points already gained for being dismissed under 150.
Gayle feels that this spoils the game since One-Day cricket should be about entertaining and going for wins. You should not be blocking to survive in One-Day cricket because you don’t want to lose points.
“I am not happy with that rule and I also feel the competition is too short to really assess the newer players especially if rain affects matches,” Gayle opined.
He said that the wickets here are very slow and the conditions not easy to bat in. “You have to be watchful since there is turn and the ball is not really coming on, so you have to take your time and settle in and build an innings. We are looking forward to the semi-final since it’s our first semi-final since 2007 when we actually won. Jerome Taylor has a minor injury and will be assessed but we are confident of going all the way,” Gayle said about Jamaica’s chances of winning their sixth title at this level. (Sean Devers)
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