DOES GAYLE REALLY WANT TO PLAY FOR THE WEST INDIES?Monday 3rd October 2011
When the West Indies officially begin their tour of Bangladesh in a couple weeks’ time it will be about 1o months since opener Chris Gayle last represented the region at the highest form of the game. In those 10 months Gayle has been ignored by West Indies selectors and especially so after he lashed out at the West Indies Cricket Board last April for leaving out the senior players for the series against Pakistan.
Gayle, while being interviewed on KLAS blasted the board, the coach Otis Gibson and CEO Dr. Ernest Hilaire. Since that time Gayle has had a couple meetings with the board – one that was a total disaster, the other that was reportedly a lot more amicable. According to media reports coming out of those meetings, Gayle was being asked to retract statements he made on KLAS, especially those about the coach Otis Gibson. Gayle has reportedly said he will not and you know what, I don’t blame him.
People really don’t need to like each other to work with each other and apparently there is no love lost between the opening batsman and the no-nonsense coach. And if he truly feels the way he does about the things he said about Gibson, it would be disingenuous of Gayle to retract statements that truly reflects how he feels. I feel the board’s response would be to have the two iron out their personal differences and work with what both can live with.
However, one gets the feeling that Gibson is not keen on Gayle returning to the squad even if he does relent and apologizes or retracts his statements. Sources close to the situation have suggested that Gayle is seen as a cancer to the team in many ways and the board would rather do away with him entirely. What is critical is that while Dr. Hilaire might not necessarily be in Gayle’s corner, according to media reports, he is willing to overlook those comments.
In the meantime, the WICB has urged Gayle to stop making disparaging remarks about the board on his Twitter page, a fair request given the fact that it is hardly sensible to keep bashing the organisation that one works for. It’s not good for business.
That idea is somehow lost on Gayle, however, as just this week following the loss of his Indian Premier League team the Bangalore Royal Challengers to the Chevrolet Cavaliers in this season’s opening match Gayle tweeted about the inconsistency of the WICB selection policy and in a subsequent tweet, called the WICB corrupt. Now, either Gayle is a slow learner or he just doesn’t care. Refusing to retract previously made statements is one thing but what sense does it make to keep making those statements when he fully well knows that they are among the main points of contention between him and the board?
Gayle knows he doesn’t need to play for the West Indies to continue earning a very good living from the sport. In addition to re-signing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore after his incredible performances for them last season, Gayle has also signed to play Big Bash Cricket in Australia, a deal worth north of US$250,000 and he recently signed to play with the Dolphins in the South African domestic T20 league starting next February. And as long as he can hit the ball as hard as he does and with the consistency that he displayed for the Challengers last season, he will continue to demand top dollar from the T20 leagues across the world so he wont starve.
But what baffles me is that Gayle continues to do the things that he knows is going to keep him out of the West Indies team. Perhaps this is a demonstration of this faux bravado that Jamaican men seem intent on displaying these days no matter how ridiculous it is, considering that in this particular case, Gayle does not hold the handle of the knife.
I mean, this is a Chris Gayle who called for Caricom to intervene in his case when it became apparent that the WICB was not going to budge from its position not to allow him to resume playing for the West Indies, something he claims he so badly wants to do. His actions, however, would suggest that he is no longer interested.
Perhaps he is realizing how much money he is losing by not representing the West Indies or something else that he is yet to reveal to the public. He says he wants to represent the region but he continues to insult the board. None of it makes sense. The most I can make of it is that Gayle wants to have his cake and eat it too but life doesn’t work like that.
As bad as the board is and has been and as poor as they have been in dealing with player issues like this situation with Gayle, their request that he not continue to air the region’s dirty laundry in public is not an unreasonable one. It’s easy to blame the board for the ills of West Indies cricket but let’s face it the members of the board are not the only ones that need attitude adjustment.
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