Chris Gayle's future as West Indies captain will be determined in the next week, with selectors set to recommend to the board their choice of leader for the forthcoming tour of Australia. Daren Ganga, who skippered Trinidad & Tobago to the final of the Champions League Twenty20, is being touted as a potential leadership challenger to Gayle, but Ernest Hilaire, the WICB chief executive, insisted no decision on the West Indian captaincy had yet been made.
Gayle was due to captain against Ganga in a limited-overs President's Cup match in Guyana on Wednesday, but withdrew from the match due to illness. T&T posted a thumping 90-run victory over the Carlton Baugh-captained Jamaicans in a rain-affected match, continuing a triumphant month that began with their charge to the final of the Champions League in India.
Despite previous suggestions he was unwilling to continue as West Indies captain, Gayle confirmed last week he would be happy to lead the touring party to Australia. Hilaire, though, would not confirm whether Gayle would be reinstated to the captaincy following his strike-related absence, leaving the door open for a leadership change.
"The selectors will meet over the next few days and will make a recommendation to the board," said Hilaire, who added that all players who took strike action against the board would be considered for the tour of Australia. "I am also aware that the players have announced that they are available and, more importantly, want to play if selected. WICB has always expressed the view that players must be both available for selection and available to play. In this regard, I think we have made considerable progress."
The President's Cup represents a important step in the normalisation of relations between the WICB and the player's union (WIPA) after the bitter and protracted industrial dispute. The six-day tournament is doubling as a selection trial for the tour of Australia and, with all players available for their respective teams, the prospect of an understrength team representing the Caribbean in Australia appears to have been averted.
"Our discussions with WIPA have been excellent and we are looking forward to building on our progress in resolving all outstanding issues by designing a new partnership," Hilaire said. "There have been attempts in the past but we are sincere in developing that partnership based on mutual trust and co-operation. We accept that there will be differences but we must never allow our differences to destroy our relationship."
Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo