West Indies in Australia 2009-10

Gayle captaincy not guaranteed - Hilaire

Alex Brown

September 23, 2009

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Not much went right for West Indies and Chris Gayle while fielding, South Africa v West Indies, ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights, The Oval, June 13, 2009
Ernest Hilaire feels it would be best to ask Chris Gayle to review his comments on Test cricket © Getty Images
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Ernest Hilaire, the West Indies Cricket Board's incoming chief executive, has expressed confidence that a full-strength West Indies squad will tour Australia later this year, but raised doubts over whether Chris Gayle will be the man to lead them. Gayle's comments regarding the West Indian captaincy and the future of Test cricket have remained with Hilaire, who feels the selection panel would be prudent to quiz the veteran batsman over his long-term leadership ambitions.

Floyd Reifer has captained the Windies in Gayle's strike-enforced absence but his recent performances suggest he will not retain his place if and when the region's senior players return. Denesh Ramdin was rated by the former West Indies coach John Dyson as a future international captain, but just which direction Clyde Butts' selection panel intend to take in regards to the leadership role remains unclear.

"It is for the selection committee to discuss and make a recommendation to the board," Hilarie told Cricinfo. "Chris has said in the recent past that he is not that interested in playing Test cricket anymore. I'm very open minded, and I am not sure what the selection committee is thinking. But I would have thought in light of recent reports it would be wise to ask him the meaning of his comments. Was it an emotional time? Was he stressed? Is it something he is now willing to look beyond?

"At the end of the day, it is difficult leading a team that hasn't been winning for a long time. Whoever has the job, they need the full support of the board and WIPA (West Indies Players' Association) in coping with the demands of the captaincy and have an environment that is conducive to him getting the best from his players."

Ricky Ponting this week echoed the sentiments of his chief executive, James Sutherland, in expressing fears that West Indies could announce an under-strength squad for the tour of Australia, much like it did for the disastrous bilateral series against Bangladesh in July-August. Butts recently issued an ultimatum for striking players to make themselves available for the regional limited-overs tournament next month or risk exclusion from the Australian touring party, and Hilaire was hopeful of a peaceful, if potentially awkward, reintegration process.

"The board has said from the start it wants all players to be available to tour Australia," he said. "I hope that all parties will show their commitment to West Indies cricket by ensuring that happens. That is what we are working towards. As with anything, there are no guarantees but we need a commitment from everyone that this is what we should work towards. There will certainly be a challenge in getting the players back together and playing as a cohesive unit. It will require strong leadership, but I am confident that it will be achieved."

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (September 25, 2009, 4:31 GMT)

I feel West Indies is on the verge of coming back after some time in wilderness. In Fidel Edwards, Jerome Taylor,and now Keimar Roach and Gavin Tonge they have a foursome perhaps as fearsome as their quartets and quintets of the 70s and 80s. They have a good batting lineup with Gayle, Sarwan Chanderpaul in the top order apart from youngsters waiting in the wings to get their share of the action. What has perhaps ailed the lot that is at loggerheads with their board is a lack of motivation in merely playing for their country when they realise they could make so much more money in playing for the Stanfords and the IPL. To change this they need a captain with some stature. Someone like Frank Worrell was in the early 60s who this band of highly talented sportsmen would respect. They do not need Gayle because he is anything but a leader in the Worrell sense. I think they should give the captaincy to Sarwan for the time being and see how good and lucky he is.Success will bring them back.

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