WICB 'disappointed' at Gayle's IPL decision
Chris Gayle's choice of the IPL over country has angered the West Indies Cricket Board, which said it granted Gayle a no-objection certificate only after he had made himself unavailable for national selection and flown to India. The IPL clashes directly with Pakistan's Test and ODI tour of the West Indies. Gayle will take no part in either series, having joined Royal Challengers Bangalore as a replacement for Dirk Nannes.
The WICB also confirmed that Gayle was in the midst of a rehabilitation program after a side strain that precluded his selection from the first two matches against Pakistan. Gayle's flight to India has effectively cut across the middle of his rehab.
"The WICB does not accept Gayle's reason for making himself unavailable but as he has already clearly made his choice and has travelled to India, the WICB does not wish to stand in his way," the board said. "The WICB is most disappointed in the manner in which Gayle has handled the entire situation, especially given the mature and cooperative manner in which two other players who refused contracts- Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard - made themselves available for selection and agreed to an understanding in the best interest of West Indies cricket."
Gayle had refused the WICB's central contract to leave him free for the IPL but ironically was not bought at the player auction in January because the franchises feared he would be unavailable because of international commitments.
The board said it was surprised to learn that Gayle had been making arrangements to play cricket in India when it was under the impression that he was recovering from injury following the World Cup and was undergoing rehabilitation work and about to resume training. "In discussing his application for an NOC, the WICB has repeatedly informed Gayle that he is expected to resume training after which he would be required to undergo a fitness test and once passed fit, he will be considered for selection for the remainder of the Pakistan series."
Gayle was not picked for the one-off Twenty20 and the first two ODIs against Pakistan but the WICB did not publicly disclose that he was undergoing rehabilitation and was not fit enough at the time. "After the resumption of training the WICB Team Management would have organised a fitness test to assess Gayle's fitness and decisions would have then been taken about his selection to the West Indies team to face Pakistan," the board said.
The WICB emphasised Gayle would have been considered for selection for the remainder of the Pakistan series had he passed the fitness test.
After the refusal to sign retainer contracts, the WICB said it sought to engage the players in discussions to avoid any conflict over the IPL and commitments to West Indies cricket. However, in a media release on April 4 regarding the participation of West Indian players in the IPL, chief executive Ernest Hilaire had this to say about Gayle: "With Chris Gayle it has not been a productive discussion and therefore it is a little more difficult for me to make any pronouncements as it relates to Chris. But we are open to discussing with players what their plans and objectives are and how best we can accommodate them within the commitment that they must also play for country and to represent West Indies cricket."