Gayle formally recalled to West Indies squad
Chris Gayle's 15-month international exile is over after he was formally recalled to the West Indies ODI squad for the forthcoming series against England, starting in Southampton on June 16.
In keeping with the fractious and drawn out nature of the dispute that kept Gayle out of the team, his recall was confirmed after a meeting of more political than selection nature in St Vincent. Gayle and the West Indies Players' Association chief executive*, Michael Hall, spoke with an array of political and cricket figures including the island's prime minister Ralph Gonsalves, Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Baldwin Spencer, WICB president Julian Hunte, WICB director Elson Crick and the WICB's legal officer Alanna Medford.
The meeting, devised to smooth over any "residual matters" between Gayle and the WICB, was followed by the announcement of the squad for the limited-overs segment of the England tour, with Gayle returning to the ranks for the first time since the 2011 World Cup.
"Directors of the West Indies Cricket Board recently met by teleconference and are pleased that consistent with his previous commitment Mr Chris Gayle has made himself available for selection to the West Indies team," a WICB statement had said of the meeting. "The board believes that Mr Gayle's stated commitment to West Indies cricket will be an asset to the team and looks forward to his contributions in that regard."
Gayle's recall was first mooted during West Indies' earlier home series against Australia, when he met with WICB officials to repair a relationship that had deteriorated around the emergence of Twenty20 and the rise of the Indian Premier League. It then dissolved entirely when the former captain criticised the coach Ottis Gibson and the WICB during a radio interview last year.
In England the mood for Gayle's return has gathered strength, pushed along by the words of Kevin Pietersen, who said it would be "brilliant for the game" if he was recalled, while the former West Indies fast bowler and widely respected commentator Michael Holding effectively challenged the WICB to stop delaying Gayle's rehabilitation as an international player.
Lendl Simmons is the other notable recall to the ODI team after he missed the home matches against Australia. Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell also return to the team for limited-overs matches after completing their IPL duties.
*15:44 GMT, June 5: The article had qualified Michael Hall as Chris Gayle's agent. This has been changed.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here