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January 8, 2013
Chris Gayle is not playing for Jamaica in the ongoing Caribbean T20 because the selectors decided to omit him from the squad, after the batsman said he would be available only if his Big Bash League franchise, Sydney Thunder, did not make the knockouts of Australia's ongoing domestic T20 competition.
Thunder failed to make it past the league stage of the BBL but, according to the Caribbean T20 playing conditions, Gayle cannot be added to Jamaica's squad unless one of their players is injured.
The WICB had set a December 16 deadline for all the regional teams to send in their squads for the final edition of the Caribbean T20, which will be replaced by the franchise-based Caribbean Premier League next year. Eager to have Gayle in their squad, Jamaica's three-man selection panel, led by Courtnay Daley, contacted him in December, when West Indies were touring Bangladesh. Gayle was open to the offer, but made it clear that he would be available for Jamaica only after his stint with Thunder. Though Gayle found form in the final match for Thunder with the fastest fifty of the BBL, it came too late in the day.*
"When we got in touch with Chris, he said he could only come if his team [Thunder] did not go through," Daley, the chairman of selectors, told ESPNcricinfo. "So based on our situation we decided to go ahead and name the squad [without Gayle]."
Thunder had a dismal run in the BBL, losing all seven games and finishing bottom of the league. Gayle, one of the most destructive batsmen in T20 cricket, made only 72 runs in six innings.
According to Daley, the Caribbean T20 rules do not permit squad changes and the only way Gayle can be accommodated is as a replacement in case of an injury to an existing player.
Jamaica are also without the services of Marlon Samuels, who is playing for Melbourne Renegades, the BBL leaders with six wins in seven matches. According to Daley, Samuels could not be directly contacted but the selectors had tried to check his availability through Gayle. "We could not reach Marlon directly and asked Chris to relay the message. But Chris did not get back," he said. "With the Big Bash going on, we could not take a decision. We would have loved to have both Gayle and Samuels."
Unlike Jamaica, defending Caribbean T20 champions Trinidad & Tobago will be boosted by the presence of Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine, who are also part of the Big Bash. Narine, who played for Sydney Sixers, had returned to play in the washed-out tournament opener against Jamaica on Sunday evening. Pollard, who represented Adelaide Strikers, is expected to join the squad on Tuesday. Both players had worked out an arrangement with the Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board and their Big Bash franchises to play in the Caribbean T20.
* - 12.30 GMT - Updated following the result of Thunder v Stars
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Nagraj Gollapudi
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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