West Indies news July 1, 2011

Gayle to 'explore opportunities' but won't quit

ESPNcricinfo staff

Chris Gayle has said he "will explore the opportunities available" to him elsewhere since he can no longer wait on the WICB to resolve their issues with him, but is available for selection for West Indies and Jamaica and has ruled out retirement. In a long and emotional public statement he said communication with officials of the West Indies and Jamaica boards had broken down and traced the evolution of the long-running and bitter dispute back to 2009, when Ernest Hilaire, now CEO of the WICB, cast doubts on his ability to captain the team.

Gayle also referred to the recent efforts at rapprochement with Hilaire and said that Hilaire would not be able to meet him till August, ruling him out of West Indies' current home series against India.

"I have now reached the stage where I have to say that enough is enough," Gayle wrote. "I understand that the WICB and the Jamaica Board met and my matter was discussed but nobody has told me anything and I can only assume without any positive feedback there has been no resolution. There is a disciplinary process in West Indies cricket. Yet the board is allowed to be the complainant as well as policeman, judge, jury and executioner in my case. When I tried to respond to the accusations made against me, I am deemed to be out of place and trying to destroy West Indies cricket.

"I am now coming close to the end of my shelf-life as a cricketer ... and must concentrate on providing for my family now and in the future. On this basis, and not hearing from the West Indies Cricket Board with any clear pathway forward, I have come to the bitter realisation that I am not wanted by the board and all that has gone before in terms of reconciliation is a sham and a mockery. I see it as a scam to fool the people of the West Indies and the world into believing that they were serious about my returning to West Indies cricket.

"My eyes are open, my heart is clean, my conscience is clear and the voice of reason is loud in my ears telling me that I should close this chapter in my life. I am not going to be the WICB's whipping boy. We as West Indies players are admired throughout the world for our honesty and sportsmanship. Yet the custodians of West Indies cricket, the people who are responsible for the development of our heritage sport, have not dealt with us honestly.

"It is against this background that I have now decided not to wait on the WICB any longer but, while I still have the time and the skills, explore the opportunities available to me elsewhere. I do it reluctantly but have no choice. I have people to take care of and cannot sit for months waiting on WICB CEO Ernest Hilaire and the board.

"Despite all that has happened I am still hopeful that good sense will prevail and I would once again represent my country and my region in near the future. I wish to make it abundantly clear that I have not yet retired from any form of the game and remain available for selection for both Jamaica and West Indies. However, this is entirely out of my hands."

Gayle suggested his exclusion from the series against India was part of a long-term plan to remove him from the team. The problem, Gayle said, goes back to 2009, since when he had "been put in a no-win situation". Soon after Hilaire took office that October, he said, the board questioned the selectors' recommendation that he should captain the team to tour Australia. While eight members voted for him, five voted against. "Clive Lloyd, who had praised me highly before was one of them [who voted against him]. He never said anything to me about why he was no longer on my side. Joel Garner, who was the manager of the West Indies team and who worked with me closely on the Stanford game which we won, was another. Conde Riley from Barbados too. Most surprising is the man who said publicly that he always supported me as captain. Professor Hilary Beckles voted against me so when he says that he pushed for me to be captain you have to decide whether to believe Beckles or the minutes of the meeting. Gregory Shillingford of the Leeward Islands voted against me."

The Board set up a committee to meet with him, he said, which included Lloyd, Garner and Beckles. He was then criticised in coach Ottis Gibson's report on the 2010 World Twenty20, which said, "the captain was not a natural leader" and "not a student of the game and lacks tactical awareness on the field". However, Gayle wrote, Gibson never said anything to him before or after his report. "He is a man who sought my advice when things were not going well. Before he became the West Indies coach he used to call me often."

In October 2010, Gayle was sacked as captain, and says he still has no idea why. "I did not protest since the captaincy is not a right. It is a duty." He said he went on the Sri Lanka tour in November 2010 having recommitted himself to West Indies cricket and backing Darren Sammy, the new captain. He pointed to his triple-century in the first Test of that tour, and said: "Nobody questioned my commitment then."

After the World Cup, he said, the board was looking for people to blame for the poor performance of the team and "picked on me and the other senior players". This time it was not the captaincy that was the issue but the senior players - "Gibson said we lacked the hunger and the desire to succeed".

Gayle said he played with an injury during the World Cup and returned to Jamaica to get in shape for the home series against Pakistan. A camp was set up but nobody contacted him, and he was again ignored when the squad was picked for the first two ODIs. That, he says, is when he got an offer to play in the IPL - for Royal Challengers Bangalore - and went when the WICB made it publicly clear that Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Gayle were not considered for selection. "I did not turn my back on the West Indies because the West Indies had already turned its back on me. I was not in the squad and it was clear that there was no intention to pick me."

From there on things moved swiftly - and dramatically. Gayle said the controversial June 15 meeting with WICB officials, at which WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine was also present, was called to discuss his future but had a motive other than his reinstatement in the side.

On June 22, he said, he wrote to Hilaire in response to an email received the previous day in which Hilaire said he wanted to resolve the issue but sought to know what Gayle wanted him to do. Gayle said he had not received any guidance, other than what has appeared in the media, on what he needed to do to be included in the West Indies team.

He received a reply two days later in which Hilaire said that the issue was about a "history of misunderstanding, miscommunication and mishandling of issues, on both sides". He said Gayle would have to meet with the team management and after that with the selectors, and after that with the cricket operations department and only then would Hilaire meet him before reporting to the board. That, Hilaire said, would not be until August.

Gayle also referred to the WICB's claim that Ramnarine had threatened Hilaire with a chair at the June 15 meeting, saying nothing of the sort happened. He admitted tempers flared during the meeting but disagreed with accusations that Ramnarine had not represented Gayle's best interest in the meeting.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Michael on July 4, 2011, 12:22 GMT

    If Chris Gayle had really wanted to represent the West Indies just as in the case of Pollard and Bravo he would have signed the central contract offered to him. We as a public are not fools anymore and we can see that these individuals don't really care about our cricket. A great legacy was passed down by the players of the past and these guys are doing everything to destroy it. Get rid of them all and let the rebuilding process begin. Finally all those from other countries who back Chris Gayle must ask themselves if that sort of behaviour would be tolerated by their boards. I think not. Because didn't India just band all their players from taking part in the Aussie Big Bash Tournament.

  • Louis on July 4, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    Testing! Ignore There is constant talk that Gayle is an average opener. N E body who believes should go to stats guru and compare Gayle to Haynes and Greenidge and only then will people stop making allegations against Gayle been an average opener. The only difference is that Haynes and Greenidge played in a all powerful WI team. Gayle has a lot to offer. It's really sad to see these turn of events. But it only shows the inability of the WICB to resolve player issues without trying to degenerate the player. Do we remember how the WICB ended the careers of Haynes, Greenidge and Viv? There is no guarantee that adding Gayle to the squad will make us but at least it will improve our chances of winning. I have a new level of respect for Gayle now because he's the only that is standing up to the WICB stupidity.

  • Thangavel Balakumar on July 4, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    Please solve this issue WICB. Chris Gayle is an international cricketer and good sportsman, Cricket boards shouldn't be allowed to destroy cricket and players. All the cricketers and fans are with Gayle around the globe. Through out his career he played for the betterment of the WI cricket team. We believe , he is not a selfish.

  • Dummy4 on July 3, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    It is so sad to see what West indies Cricket has come to, yes every team goes through a crisis some time or another, to see now that Money, abusive language, and and most recently an attitude that spells violence has taken the place of Love for the Game, Love for your Country and West Indies and PRIDE; West Indies was once upon a time the Godzilla in the Cricket World. Everyone can see Sammy is trying his best, the body language and face expression on some of the players who still have the love and pride for the game. Yes, I do believe the Team wants badly to win, but there is too much wrong outside bad influence that is hampering the unity and team spirit. I love my West Indies team Win or Lose.

  • Derek on July 3, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding! what is a 'SPECIAL' test average? anyhting in excess of 40 at test level is special even if you've only played 10 tests. Remember how averages are calculated. A better way to judge this might be to only classify a player's top 10 innings against the top 5 teams and discount everything else. That way all those players with big scores against WI since they fell out of the top 5 will not matter.

  • Dummy4 on July 3, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    why u guys keep this series it is very boring to see without gayle include gayle and exclude sarwan as well as sammy there are wate in the side.......

  • salman on July 3, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    IPL has ruined the career of other world class performer...stop this Indian pathetic league,,other wise the real English flavour of cricket wil die

  • delroy on July 3, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    where is the jamaican cricket board,the prime minister and the WI cricket loving people? the wicb,selectors &coach should be representing a cricket loving population.is'nt it obvious before the eyes of the world that there is a political fight against jamaican cricketers (regional champions in almost every phase of the game)CHRIS GAYLE,set-up & being used as a scapegoat by wicb,selectors & coach.check the caribbean countries they're all from? facts #1 chris was not fit for selection,neither was jermaine taylor(both coming frm ipl.) marlon samuels made fifty in his last test against PAK, was left out for the 1st test against india(rescued the team in the 2nd test).andre russell,one of our best allrounders,sidelined,why?sammy who is from the same country as our WICB CEO next, carlton baugh should be replsced as keeper by simmonds or rambdin former one day cricketer,latter had many years of failure.another big picture of WICB,COACH&SELECTORS mentality is (look into it)no ipl players.

  • ashley on July 3, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    sportspeople just want to do their best and play sport. The suits are always the problem with vested interests, political maneuvering, getting what they can for themselves and their reputation- they offer nothing to the world. Gayle just has to get out there and hit a ball and gives us so much. The less officials there are, the better sport operates. Don't need a 10 or 15 man panel of cronnies to decide who is capable of hitting a ball, it is in the open for all to see. Come play in Aus Gayle, just avoid the stooges we have running the game here.

  • sachit on July 3, 2011, 5:13 GMT

    looking forward to see chris gayle at the Sri Lankan T20. I think the guy can play around the world for Bangalore, sydney thunder along with some county team as well as in NZ SA domestic contests as well. really WI are at the losing end and not Gayle.

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