A week that started in chaos and confusion in West Indies' cricket ended with another contentious, controversial issue last night.

As the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) tried to establish whether Chris Gayle had violated its eligibility rule, the selectors refused to pick the Jamaican opening batsman for the first Cable & Wireless Test against Australia in spite of advice from the board that Gayle was eligible until the matter had been fully investigated.

Gayle's decision not to represent Jamaica in the Carib Beer International Challenge final against Jamaica at Kensington Oval and instead play in the lucrative Double Wicket World Championship in St Lucia, has left the WICB seeking legal advice to ensure that the right procedure was followed in determining whether Gayle was in breach of the eligibility rule.

`Not aware'

Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) president Jackie Hendriks, who is serving as tournament referee in the Double Wicket World Championship, submitted a report to the WICB in which he said he was "not aware that any formal permission was given by the JCA for Gayle to miss the [Carib] final".

The WICB has also asked Gayle to submit a report on the circumstances that led to his non-participation in the Carib final, before making a decision on whether he was in breach of the eligibility rule.

Meanwhile, the WICB advised chief selector Sir Vivian Richards that until such time as a decision has been made to the contrary, Gayle was eligible for selection on the West Indies team.

One is left to presume that the 23-year-old Gayle, who had seemingly established himself as the West Indies' premier opening batsman in the past two years and whose 28 Tests have brought him 1 588 runs (ave. 35.28), has been dropped.

In deciding on a review, the WICB considered that, on the face of it, Gayle could be in breach of the eligibility rule which states in part:

"A player becomes eligible for selection to the senior West Indies team when he makes himself available for selection to his national side in a competition immediately preceding the selection of a West Indies team for an international series."

During the course of yesterday's third day of the Carib International final, there was the feeling that a dramatic announcement was in store.

A Press release was promised early in the day, but it did not come until after 7 p.m.