West Indies news October 20, 2011

Gayle to be considered if he retracts statements

ESPNcricinfo staff

Chris Gayle will only be considered for selection for West Indies if he retracts statements he has made about the West Indies board and its officers, the WICB has said in a statement. The board will appoint a facilitator to assist Gayle in complying with their requirements. The decision comes after the last meeting between Gayle and WICB chief Ernest Hilaire, on August 25, had more positive results then previous interactions between the parties.

Relations between Gayle and the board had broken down after he gave an interview in April to a radio station during which he was scathing about both the board and coach Ottis Gibson. After attempts at reconciliation failed, and Gayle was left out of the squad for the whole of the home series against India, he released a long and emotional public statement, in which he traced the evolution of the dispute back to 2009, when, he said, Hilaire had cast doubts on his ability to captain the team.

The board has now said it recognises that Gayle can "contribute meaningfully" to the West Indies team, but will only select him if he withdraws his criticisms. The WICB said they had told Gayle of their decision and were waiting for his response.

Clive Lloyd, the former West Indies captain and now WICB director, said it was important to get a senior player like Gayle back in the West Indies setup and that it would be wise for Gayle to comply with the board's requirements.

"First of all it is disappointing that the matter has gone on for as long as it has," Lloyd said in the board statement. "What we need now is closure and, to be fair, anyone of whom those comments were made would have a right to take umbrage.

'Withdrawing the comments would be the intelligent thing to do to get the issue resolved and have everyone move on. We need senior players to be in the setup to drive the progress forward and any team would love to entertain Gayle, but under the right circumstances."

Gayle has not played for West Indies since the 2011 World Cup. Since then, he has been an integral part of Royal Challengers Bangalore's squad in their IPL and Champions League Twenty20 campaigns, finishing as the leading run-getter in the IPL.

His saga with the board had escalated to a level where the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government had become involved. West Indies are currently touring Bangladesh, after which they will go to India to play three Tests and five ODIs.