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Trinidad & Tobago Express

New Zealand in West Indies 2012

Gayle back where he belongs

The Jamaican hearteningly seems to have put his dispute with the board firmly in the past

Tony Cozier

July 8, 2012

Comments: 15 | Text size: A | A

Chris Gayle hits Jacob Oram for six, West Indies v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Kingston, July 5, 2012
Simon Doull: "For all Gayle's spectacular hitting in T20 leagues, his true place was in international cricket for the West Indies" © WICB
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Simon Doull's take on Chris Gayle's eventual return to the West Indies team is, no doubt, widely, if not unanimously, shared throughout the Caribbean. What makes it more pertinent is that it came from someone unaware of all the convoluted reasons for his prolonged exile and completely detached from the divisiveness it caused in these parts.

Doull, the former New Zealand swing bowler, said on television commentary during Thursday's first ODI that, for all Gayle's spectacular hitting that have made him the darling of franchise owners and fans and an unforgiving ogre to bowlers in globally spread Twenty20 leagues, his true place was in international cricket for the West Indies.

It was a travesty that, as he continued to smash bowlers of all types and nationalities in distant parts of the globe, he could only be seen by his home public on television, until the settlement between himself and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), brokered at prime ministerial level last April, that cleared the lifting of his disqualification.

For all the additional fame and fortune he has earned from his several Twenty20 contracts, Gayle would not be Jamaican if he was not frustrated by the standoff with the WICB that kept him from appearing on his home patch in West Indies colours.

A headstrong individual not inclined to apologise for things he felt needed to be said, such as his radio criticism of coach Ottis Gibson, chief executive Ernest Hilaire and the board in general that brought his suspension, Gayle brought himself to sign the agreement that opened the way for his return.

In it, he "expressed his regret for making an earlier contentious statement which could have been interpreted, and was so interpreted in several responsible circles as bringing the board and management of West Indies cricket in disrepute".

The impact of his reinstatement was reflected over the first two ODIs in the current series against New Zealand in the biggest crowds to have poured into Sabina Park for many years; it was articulated by one female spectator in an interview on television as Gayle proceeded to his confidently anticipated, almost inevitable, hundred during yesterday's second ODI.

She was there, she said, purely because Gayle was there. "He brings excitement to the cricket" might have been a redundant comment but, as with his friend and countryman Usain Bolt and any other exceptional sportsman, he also brings people - male, female, young, old - through the gates. The scenario is likely to be the same in the remaining ODIs in St.Kitts and the Tests in Antigua and back at Sabina early next month.

In his absence, the West Indies have had to turn to young, inexperienced batsmen at the top of the order. Talented as they might be, Adrian Barath, Kieron Powell and Kraigg Brathwaite missed the accompaniment of a seasoned campaigner such as Gayle whose daunting approach to batting would have eased the pressure placed on them by strong fast attacks such as Australia's and England's.

 
 
His attitude on the field, not least his urgency in running between the wickets, never a priority, indicates an individual free of any residual hang-ups from his latest disagreement with a board with whom, he once said, there was no love lost.
 

Gayle has immediately reasserted that he is not merely a Twenty20 ball beater. Yesterday was his third ODI back, his 20th hundred taking him past Brian Lara's 19 as the most by a West Indies batsman. His two previous innings were 53 against England at the Oval in June (when out to a dubious, reviewed lbw decision) and 63 not out at Sabina on Thursday when the rain checked his aim of marking his return to Sabina with three figures.

The two Tests that follow the ODIs here will be a test of his fitness over five days as much as anything. He will be 33 on September 21 and his leg muscles have increasingly let him down in the past couple of years.

He remains the fiercest, cleanest striker of a ball in world cricket. Few have ever hit it harder or further, whatever the format. In his 91 Tests, he has clouted 75 sixes. Yet there can be little doubt that he is more than purely a ball beater; he has repeatedly, and recently, proved his ability to build big, long innings.

His 333 against Sri Lanka in Galle that occupied 10 minutes short of 11 hours was just 18 months ago. He batted through the innings for just over seven hours for his unbeaten 165 against Australia in Adelaide in 2009. CH Gayle as the first name in a West Indies scoresheet adds appreciably to its present strength.

There is, of course, another side to the story. It concerns his relationship with the WICB and with coach Gibson, whose censure of "senior players" following the 2011 World Cup stirred Gayle's anger in the first place. Gayle has proclaimed his commitment to West Indies cricket and to playing in all three versions of the game.

Certainly his triumphant homecoming must be an immediate incentive. His attitude on the field, not least his urgency in running between the wickets, never a priority, indicates an individual free of any residual hang-ups from his latest disagreement with a board with whom, he once said, there was no love lost.

Long may it last.

Tony Cozier has written about and commentated on cricket in the Caribbean for nearly 50 years

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Posted by estraker on (July 10, 2012, 20:57 GMT)

People always have to try to read between the lines to try to understand where you are. I am quite sure that,as a Bajan,you are familar with the expression ,"There is more in the mortar than the pestle", Are you afraid to call a spade a spade? When this nonsence between the GAYLE and WICB started you never condemn or condone neither Gayle or WICB. Why do you have to stay on the hedges. The only one who came out and voiced his opinion about the way GIBSON try to eliminate the senior players is Michael Anthony Holding. Sammy is taking the place of one the fast bowlers and Gibson you need to resign.

Posted by AMOR on (July 10, 2012, 14:12 GMT)

welcome back Gayle. Where was Cozier when Galye was banned, he did'nt say a word, always avoiding the issue. The board and the captain still needs to go. Despite they are winning, the captain makes all the wrong moves, the team is winning by ability not leadership.

Posted by denessa on (July 9, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

EVERYONE KNOWS WHO IS CHRISTOPHER HENRY GAYLE AND HIS CAPABILITIES......WICB CAN'T KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN NEITHER THM CAN'T KEEP A GOOD MAN OUT OF THE GAME......IT WOULD TAKE MORE THAN A DECADE FOR ANY PLAYER TO SURPASS CG RECORDS HE IS SIMPLY THE BEST PLAYER OF THIS ERA......KEEPIN DOIN YA TING CG........GOD WILL BE UR GUIDE N STRENGTH.....ALL THE BEST......

Posted by estraker on (July 9, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

gibson you have to go also!

Posted by   on (July 8, 2012, 22:53 GMT)

so good to have Gayle back in the team where he belongs. These few games have proven that Mr Gibson need to publicly apologise the the west Indies fans for the torture we had to go through without athe best opener in our region. Now it is also time to return Shiv to the batting line up in these one day game He has an average of over 40 and a strike rate of 70 - most teams will never think of dropping someone with those stats. Take a look at the list of most centuries and Shiv is up there too. Why only WICB and the selectors feel the servant of WI cricket have nothing else to offer to one day. Look even T20, SHiv has done well - just another excuse to frustrate the seniors players. Anyways, so good to have Gayle back and maybe someday Sammy will feel confident to throught the ball to Gayle and not be afraid of being out-shined. GO WEST INDIES GO!!! and Good Luck

Posted by   on (July 8, 2012, 20:57 GMT)

After The Gayle Interview on radio any sensible cricket board would have fired the almost useless coach & fined the useful cricketers like Gayle, Chanderpaul & Sarwan who fans come to watch @ the cricket. That's what England did with Peterson & Moore But Not WICB . This kind of logic is too advanced for them

Posted by   on (July 8, 2012, 20:11 GMT)

welcome home gayle........ happy ridance hilare

Posted by   on (July 8, 2012, 18:29 GMT)

what we dont seem to understand in the w. i. is that the game is about the players, THEY ARE THE STARS, not the board president or coaches can't remember buying a ticket to a game to watch a coach.

Posted by   on (July 8, 2012, 16:48 GMT)

the wrath of Chris Gayle shall always be incessant and even when he left West Indian Cricket it had continued to perpetuate in all the leagues he played for. Consistence and maturity have became his companions, but what is odd about it all is how he started his assassination of the cricket ball consistently when he grew his hair; kinda reminds me of a biblical character, Samson. I often wonder if i can bowl an over to him and not be clobbered for 36 runs. probably when i get more experience in the sport i play under 17 cricket currently . Anyway welcome back Mighty Gayle, AKA Samson.

Posted by   on (July 8, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

the wrath of Chris Gayle shall always be incessant and even when he left West Indian Cricket it had continued to perpetuate in all the leagues he played for. Consistence and maturity have became his companions, but what is odd about it all is how he started his assassination of the cricket ball consistently when he grew his hair; kinda reminds me of a biblical character, Samson. I often wonder if i can bowl an over to him and not be clobbered for 36 runs. probably when i get more experience in the sport i play under 17 cricket currently . Anyway welcome back Mighty Gayle, AKA Samson.

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