West Indies tour lurches towards new crisis June 26, 2007

Board condemns unrepentant Gayle

Cricinfo staff

Chris Gayle: unrepentant © Getty Images
West Indies' tour of England has been plunged into further crisis with just two days to go until the Twenty20 internationals at The Oval, after Chris Gayle, the one-day captain, was condemned by the West Indies Cricket Board for refusing to back down from his recent criticism of the team's shambolic tour arrangements.

Gayle, who had already been smarting from the board's initial vetoing of his appointment as one-day captain, hit out in his Cricinfo diary after the squad was forced to draft in five players from the local leagues to make up the numbers for their tour match against England Lions at Worcester last Thursday. The one-day specialists in the squad did not arrive from the Caribbean until the morning of the match, and so were unable to take part in the match.

"The WICB says they want the best out of players but we also need the best out of the board," said Gayle in his diary. "The board is always talking about players needing to change but we, the players, need changes from the board as well. We can't be out in the wilderness all the time because we are the ones who are getting all the blame."

Gayle's stance drew a sharp response from the board. Ken Gordon, the president, and Michael Findlay, the team manager, met with him on Monday for "lengthy discussions", advising the player that his statement was "ill-advised and has caused unnecessary embarrassment to the WICB." Gayle, however, was unrepentant and, in "a very strongly-worded letter of reprimand" was advised by Gordon and the board that his conduct was "totally unacceptable".

The matter is unlikely to end there, with the WICB threatening to pursue things further at the end of the tour. "The WICB is hopeful that notwithstanding his unwillingness to apologise, Mr. Gayle will understand the seriousness of his actions and avoid any further statements or behaviour that will force the WICB to take drastic and immediate action against him."

The intensity of the stand-off will only serve to deepen the resentment currently brewing in the West Indian camp. None of the senior board members were present during the 3-0 Test series defeat, and Gordon is only in the country to attend this week's ICC meeting.

Following an arbitration panel's ruling last week which means that the WICB faces having to negotiate the contracts for this tour retrospectively, this public carpeting of one of their most senior players is an indication that those contracts are unlikely to be favourable to a team that, rightly or wrongly, feels it has been cut adrift by its paymasters.