Chris Gayle, the West Indies captain, has turned down a central contract with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). Gayle is the third prominent West Indies player to opt out of a central contract, after allrounders Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo did the same earlier this month.
"Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, who were both offered A contracts, and Kieron Pollard, who was offered a C contract, have indicated to the WICB that they were not minded to take up the offers," confirmed a press release from the board. "The WICB has written to Gayle, Bravo and Pollard seeking details of the issues which caused them not to take up the offer in an attempt to understand same and so that the issues can be addressed for future contract offers."
The contracts on offer had required players to make themselves available for the West Indies team at all times, something that the three players - all of whom have forged prominent careers in domestic Twenty20 competitions including the IPL - were reluctant to do.
The board release subsequently confirmed that Gayle, Pollard and Bravo would be available for selection in the West Indies team if they meet the board's criteria which makes it mandatory for players to participate in regional tournaments, unless under "exceptional circumstances", to be in contention. It also confirmed that possession of a retainer contract is not a pre-requisite for selection to the West Indies team.
According to the criteria that was outlined in August, those players seeking selection into a particular format will have to make themselves available for participation in the corresponding regional version - the first-class four-day competition, the 50-over one-day tournament or the Caribbean T20.
The WICB had offered 25 players contracts on August 31 - ten of them were development contracts worth $25,000 - and gave the players until September 10 to accept them. If any player chose not to accept the contract, the board said it would make alternate offers. Twenty-three of the players have now signed their contracts, 15 on full retainers across three bands, plus eight further names on Developmental contracts.
"The WICB is delighted to have a full complement of players on Central Retainer and Developmental contracts," said WICB CEO Dr. Ernest Hilaire. "We see this as a clear demonstration by the players themselves that they are committed to working with the WICB towards the development and success of West Indies cricket.
"The WICB is encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response from the players and we look forward to working very closely with each of them in the coming year," Dr. Hilaire added.
"Gayle, Bravo and Pollard have each indicated to the WICB that they remain committed to West Indies cricket and are available for selection to the West Indies team," continued the statement. "The WICB appreciates the stated commitment to West Indies cricket."
West Indies contracted players Shivnarine Chanderpaul - A, Sulieman Benn - B, Darren Sammy - B, Kemar Roach - C, Brendan Nash - C, Adrian Barath - C, Darren Bravo - C, Shane Shillingford - C, Nikita Miller - C, Devon Smith - C, Ravi Rampaul - C, Nelon Pascal - C, David Bernard Jr - C, Andre Russell - C, Carlton Baugh Jr - C
Developmental contracts Kirk Edwards, Gavin Tonge, Andre Fletcher, Chadwick Walton, Devendra Bishoo, Assad Fudadin, Imran Khan, Kevin Stoute
Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo