West Indies news March 14, 2014

Gayle hurt by 'mercenary' tag


Chris Gayle has criticised those who are labelling cricketers as T20 mercenaries. He believes that it is an unfair term to players and degrades their standing in the game, warning that harming players' reputations with such labels was "distasteful and unwarranted".

"I've had that said about me in the past and it's hurtful, by my own fans in the Caribbean and some by others. But they need to know that it's always a cricketer's dream to wear his international colours. That term 'mercenary' will hurt cricket," he said. "These same mercenaries are the ones who are representing all the countries in the World T20s who everyone will be supporting so why use that word?"

Gayle's dispute with the WICB took him out the international frame in the past and he understood why the criticism came as he plied his trade in T20 tournaments globally, but he maintained that it was always his aim to return for West Indies.

"I had bills to pay and all cricketers have the same. We still do," he said. "T20 is a good way of earning extra income to secure your future and your family's. Many people don't get that. I'm more comfortable financial-wise now and I'm looking to play West Indies cricket for a few more years."

"All I wanted to do was come back and play for the West Indies. When I wasn't in the team, I had to play T20s to pay the bills and look at what happened in 2012. We won the World T20 and so many players like myself, [Dwayne] Bravo and Sunil Narine gained from our IPL experiences. We have more West Indies players in the IPL now and it's great for [Krishmar] Santokie and Jason Holder to get this experience. And make a living."

Gayle's view was backed by former West Indies opener Desmond Haynes who coached Barbados Tridents in last year's Caribbean Premier League. "You know how hard it was for players like us back in the day to make money off cricket? We had to travel the world on tour and play away from our family for so long," he said. "Relationships, marriages and parenthood struggled. Some of us couldn't see our newborns for a year. But we had to do it. Now, some players can make what we did in a lifetime in just one or two T20 tournaments."

Gayle, now 34, has targeted at least another couple of years at Test level - fitness permitting - and insists his drive to represent West Indies remains strong but added "the T20 label keeps sticking to me" before drawing again on the case of his friend Kevin Pietersen.

"You look at someone like KP," he added. "He could have made money for years now playing T20s but he stuck with England. It's national pride. Now, maybe he will be going out there and be playing more T20s and making big money but no one believes us when players like us say we always want to play for our country first and foremost.

"The game has changed and there's a lot of cricket being played so T20s do clash with tours and such but we can iron and fix this out. Maybe it's all about proper T20 windows, who knows? But I'm sure if England called KP up now he'd jump at the chance to play for his country. That's across the board for players like us. We always would."

Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here

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  • Trace on March 20, 2014, 3:15 GMT

    we as fans need to realize thats this is their ''JOB', Just like everyone else... we have bills and family to take care of.. It our job is not paying us enough we work 2 jobs or leave for better paying 1... are u gonna say your staying because you like your boss and u not getting enough pay.. rubbish... Chris is a great cricketer... how many cricketers can say they made a triple century he has 2--- not even the great Sachin has a triple century.. he's a great CRICKETER.. not only for T20's but all form of the game.. WI is in a tough group but they will win the world T20 again...WI all the way.. 1 luv..JA

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2014, 4:21 GMT

    I think it is unconscionable to disparage any professional sports personality for earning as much as possible at their craft. The commitment necessary to excell in sports at the highest level even with great talent is huge. It surpasses the level that most people are willing to invest including the critics.

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2014, 0:16 GMT

    The truth always hurts, but I must apologized for thinking the same thing about Chris Gayle whenever he leaves us the West Indian fans stranded. Hey my friend Chris, I hope you show us in the T20 world cup that you caters for every fan including those who don't have enough money to pay you as much as in the IPL. You are definitely the modern hero for West Indies cricket, and to be frank, that is exactly what we the fans want you to recognize, ok sir?

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2014, 19:50 GMT

    Kevin Petersen's case is very different to that of Gayle's...so don't think the comparison was necessary. however, i understand his point and he is very right for what he says

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2014, 15:03 GMT

    i don't no why gayle even make what bad mind and jealous people want to think or talk about him christ was the best man to wall the earth and yet he could not please every one if it was not for t20 cricket gayle would be home working a 9 to 5 job for thats what wicb think was going to happen when gibson take over as coach for his vision was to get rid of all the senior player like gayle siv. and sarwan and it was a blessing when he go to the ipl and make all those runs if he did go over there and fail he wouldn't make back the w.i team if when w.i were in their glory days have the chance to play they all would play for they were all playing in england so u all get a life and let the guys live their life some of you never pay a dollar to watch a game to pay the players

  • usman on March 16, 2014, 12:54 GMT

    Ironically, through ridiculously attempting to justify him turning back on WI, he's damaging WI cricket even further by showing the budding junior aspiring cricketers the way..

  • Rodney on March 16, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    If national selection boards have a fool proof method of selecting best 11 players for what ever the format of cricket the players to be selected without human interference ( as in a computer programme), then selection of Gayle will be the same as Chanderpaul. Unfortunately no country has such a system. Then assesment of players participation in national duty can become objective. Mercienery or not, to earn money in franchise cricket, firsly one has to prove his worthness. Generally it comes from somehow being associated to the national team and playing cricket on pick and choose basis. One might sees this is the national pride while others see this as selfishness. Also do not forget the fact that cricket supposed to be a team game. Selection of a "selfish player" also could mean an oppurtunity lost for a upcoming, developing genine player.

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2014, 1:40 GMT

    Why bother to even try to play Test cricket for the Windies, when the majority of the game is not played at home? Many players now have less Tests to play because of the mixed bag of tours for ODI and T20. While he says he does, he won't have much opportunity to do so - see the Future Tours Itinerary for the Windies, and understand my point.

    Test cricket is set up for the players from Australia, England and India to play. South Africa themselves get only three Test rubbers and they are no. 1. There are 6 regular T20 Tournaments every year around the world now - where are our players going to get a chance to prove themselves???

  • Michael on March 16, 2014, 1:40 GMT

    professional cricketers and Gayle is one play for money, they are working when they play cricket. The concept that they play for love of the badge on there shirt is so old school. You will only get 20 years in the professional game, make as much as you can because when its over the prim of your life is gone and you best have more than fond memories to show for it. Great past experience to look back on is satisfying but wont put food on the table in later life

  • dappa on March 16, 2014, 1:11 GMT

    i am sick of hearing chris gayle cry about his feelings that are hurt by the fans! what about our feelings? the fans have also shed tears every single time our west indies lost a game or series! there is no denying that he has bills to pay. the problem i have is these guys not only turn their backs on their national teams in the case of gayle but still manage to stir up trouble within the team while they are away. take for instance sammy was given the captaincy because gayle and bravo refused to sign retainer contracts but still had the nerve to critisize sammy being in the team saying it causes an imbalance. for me any body wearing west indian colours has my support so i back gayle but it doesnt take from the fact that he is indeed mercanary

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