WICB offers to meet with Gayle to end standoff
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has written to Chris Gayle, stating it remains available to meet and resolve the latest impasse over his exclusion from the national team. Gayle wasn't picked for the series against India owing to differences with the board, including over a widely-publicised radio interview with KLAS Sports where he strongly criticised the WICB. The rift appeared to intensify after a heated meeting - which also involved West Indies Players' Association president Dinanath Ramnarine - on June 14 with the board, but both parties have since expressed a willingness to reconcile.
In his letter to Gayle - a copy of which is with ESPNcricinfo - the WICB chief executive Ernest Hilaire wrote that the June 14 meeting failed as "the discussions were repeatedly diverted to peripheral issues instead of being focussed on finding a constructive solution to the matter before us".
Hilaire offered to meet with Gayle again. "However, the Board does recognise your contributions to West Indies cricket and the value which you bring to a West Indies team; and remains available to meet with you, should you be willing to do so, so that we can bring some resolution to this matter. We await your response to discuss a mutually acceptable way forward."
This follows a conciliatory approach taken by the WIPA, as expressed by its vice-president Wavell Hinds to ESPNcricinfo. "He [Gayle] is prepared to answer the charges as honestly as he can and if there is a need to say sorry, I think he will say sorry," Hinds had told ESPNcricinfo. "Where he feels firm and has strong substance to back up his claims he will stand by them. If there are claims he has made where he has been a little excessive he is prepared to put his hand up and say sorry."
However, the board still sought an apology from Ramnarine for his alleged misbehaviour during the meeting on June 14. It also suggested the WIPA, in the event that an apology wasn't forthcoming, put forward another representative to engage with the board. "WIPA should either facilitate an apology to the CEO from Ramnarine, together with an "assurance/undertaking that he will not engage in any physical or verbal threats during meetings with representatives of the West Indies Cricket Board or identify alternative WIPA representatives to engage in meetings with the WICB," the board said in a press release.
The board has already made it clear its differences with Gayle extend beyond his KLAS Sports interview. "The WICB team has outlined to Gayle that the board has had issues historically in communicating with him and establishing a productive working relationship," the board said. "The issues include his social media announcements that he was taking a break from the game, that the Sri Lanka tour had been cancelled, among others. He demonstrated an unwillingness to engage the Board. This pattern of behaviour culminated with his widely-publicised interview on KLAS radio in Jamaica."
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo