West Indies in England 2012 April 30, 2012

Gayle's West Indies return hits fresh roadblock


Chris Gayle's return to the West Indies squad is likely to be delayed after fresh doubts emerged over his availability for the ODI leg of the upcoming England tour, pouring cold water over the hard-earned resolution reached between him and the West Indies Cricket Board by CARICOM (the Caribbean Community).

Earlier this month Gayle had sent a request to Ernest Hilaire, the WICB chief executive, asking the board if he would be selected for the ODI leg of the England tour in June; this was to help him clarify his availability for Somerset, with whom he had signed as an overseas player for the summer. Hilaire, in his response, has accused Gayle of "reneging" on the undertaking the player had given in the presence of St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, stating he would make himself available to play for West Indies over Somerset.

"I write to you with respect to the upcoming West Indies tour of England scheduled for May 2 - June 25, 2012. As previously indicated, I am willing to make myself available to play for West Indies for this tour after my obligations to my IPL team are fulfilled," Gayle said in his e-mail, available to ESPNcricinfo, dated April 20.

Gayle, who last played for West Indies in the 2011 World Cup, told Hilaire that having signed a contract with Somerset, the county required him to "give an undertaking" of his availability for the entire duration of the contract, which clashed with West Indies' tour of England. Somerset have five Friends Life t20 games scheduled during the time West Indies play three ODIs and a T20I against England.

"I would appreciate if I could be informed whether I will be contracted for the West Indies Team for England Tour before I give my commitment to Somerset," Gayle said. "I only ask this so I would be in an informed position before I respond to Somerset, given the fact that I indicated my availability to the West Indies Team after the IPL," Gayle said, requesting an immediate reply.

In his response, sent on April 26, Hilaire said that "the Board has now considered your request and is extremely disappointed that, following the progress we had seemed to be making towards final agreement, you now seem unwilling to honour the commitment you made with respect to your Somerset contract."

According to Hilaire, Gayle had sent a "side letter" to Gonsalves on March 23, stating that he would "forego" his Somerset contract in order to make himself available to play for West Indies. "You reiterated this commitment in your April 1 letter, in response to WICB's request for clarification," Hilaire said. "Your most recent communication appears to suggest that you may be reneging on your availability as you now state that you are willing to make yourself available and not that you are making yourself available. A player cannot be considered for selection if he has not made himself available for selection."

According to Hilaire, during the meeting between Gonsalves, Gayle and the WICB, it was made clear to Gayle that selection matters did not come under the "purview" of the board. "The Board cannot give any commitment to any player with respect to his selection for a particular match or tour; but we will ask the Chairman of Selectors to have a discussion with you on issues relating to your selection at the earliest, in anticipation that you will meet all eligibility requirements," Hilaire told Gayle.

The ball is now once again in Gayle's court with Hilaire asking the player to come up with an instant reply.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2012, 2:43 GMT

    To all that concern this is Sammy and Gayle record as Captain. Gayle captain 20 games won 3 lost 9 and drew 8 , Important to look at the opponents 6 test SA, 3 test AUS , 7 test Eng. 2 test New Z, and 2 test TRI. Sammy captain 16 games won 2 lost 6 drew 7 and 1 abon. opponents INdia 6, Aus 3, Pak 2 , Bang 2 ,and tri 3. For personal contribution of the 2 men please go to WI players stats and make your own conclusion. For the person who are asking what Gayle have done for WI cricket his name is the record book as 1 of the 4 persons to score 2 triple century in test , unfortunately the one under Sammy , Gibson and Hilaier cost him his place in the team.

  • Roland on May 2, 2012, 20:18 GMT

    @Rally_Windies.............you are so correct in your assessment. Players do not trust the WICB because of the treatment dealt out players before them. That is why they choose IPL etc. before playing for the WI. There are many examples of WI players who cannot pay their bills and have ended up on the streets...recall interviews during the world cup in the WI with vagrants who once played for the WI?................. WI cricket will continue to languish at the bottom of the table as long as this trust is absent..............Modern players do nto want to end up on the streets because of insularity and vindictiveness..............things that the current WICB has displayed time and time again.

  • Roland on May 2, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    What dis Gayle do wrong? The man said he would be available if selected.

    Did the WICB expect him to refuse a contract and not be picked for the WI?

    The WICB is just playing games and I suspect wanted to punish Gayle by having him forgo his contract and not be picked for the WI.

    Shame on hunte and his minions.

  • Ali on May 2, 2012, 19:30 GMT

    simonviller I don't know where you are from, but Viv and Llyod would say you are not West Indian .. their teams were HIGHLY professional, they trained day in day out and plugged away in the nets. They were the best Fielding unit in the world, and not because of talent ...

    FYI, T&T and Jamaica are more professional in their approach to the game than the WICB .... they have better training regiments, the team schedule and travel is better organised, better treatment for injured players, better technical teams to analyse opponents and both T&T and Jamaica have a better coach than the WI...

    T&T and Jamaica players who play in England and India, can safely say that their WORST working conditions are when they play for the West Indies ....

    where the hell are you from exactly? can't be the West Indies that is for sure ....

  • joel on May 2, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    Bobmartin is right. All the players on a touring team will have a CONTRACT to play, and they will collect a salary, whether or not they are SELECTED to play any particular game. Gayle was merely asking the WICB to declare their pre-arranged intention to sign him for the England tour, so that he could give a legally binding reason for reneging on his Somerset contract. Somerset would sue him for breach of contract, if he were to decide ,say, to suddenly go on a month long holiday. Similarly he could be sued for not having a GOOD reason for abandoning them at the last minute. The ONLY reason they would HAVE to let him leave would be for NATIONAL commitments, as agreed by the ICC. So, for all those whose brains can fit in their mouths, Gayle is in a cleft stick here. He can only escape playing for Somerset if WICB confirm his need to play for them. If the WICB change their minds after he has cancelled his Somerset contract, then Gayle would be quite royally screwed.

  • Dummy4 on May 2, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    WICB = Idiots..so sad! i have tickets to see Windies in the ODI's here in Enlgland, but now want a refund. Who wants to see the current crop of openers flaying about, and hitingt the odd ball for a six... ridiculous !

  • charlie on May 2, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    Let's say WICB gives Gayle a contract as he asking and on selection ,he for whatever reason fails to produce , do they then drop him and pay him while he's benched ? Would he then resort to the IPL or other as before ,while under contract given his constant wrangling with the board ? I'm asking because anything is possible with such a volatile situation ; which would surely put "egg "on faces of many within the administration . I see a message being sent here to Gayle ,that you will be treated as any other player if selected , perform and conform ,or else .

  • Dummy4 on May 2, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    Cricket needs a players union which would advocate and represent the players. The Simon Katich and now the Chris Gayle incidents are reminders of how the players are literally at the mercy of the selectors and the board. With T20 leagues, these players get a chance to showcase their talents even though they are shunned by their boards. I can only imagine how many talented cricketers were shunned and ignored by their boards before the T20 era and before they were able to have enough income to voice their concerns publicly.

  • Ralph on May 2, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    @bobmartin. I don't think I am confusing the "contracted" with "selected". As far as I am aware a player without a guaranteed contract like Gayle is only contracted to play after they are selected to play a series. The selection is an offer to the player to play for the WI for a particular series for a certain amount of money. The contract is formed when the player accepts the selection. So as far as I am aware the selection and contract have been essentially the same thing (except for players who already have guaranteed contract). So I'm still of the view Gayle is asking for a new type of precedent setting arrangement.

  • Dummy4 on May 2, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    @RandyBridgeman and others,very simply put as good as good is as a batsman,ONE batsman CANNOT just come and change the fortunes of a team.He is being portrayed as some kind of cricketing messiah which he is not,he and other quality batsmen and players were in the team before and we were getting slaughtered,winning the odd game.There are so much similarities to the Pakistan team who had star indivisual players,massive egos,but hardly played as a team,until some of them went out of the system and now with Misbah,are playing as a unit.It seems to me that Gayle,Bravo and Pollard will continue to play in whichever global T-20 competition around the world ,keep asking for no objection certificates from the board,and if by some miracle,West Indies can be slotted in,so be it.Does anyone remember Pollard turning down a place on the A team tour of England a couple of years ago to play in the T-20 competition,or Gayle arriving days before an important series from IPL,etc?.Precidents have been set

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