Now that the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL run is over and Chris Gayle is free again, the question that arises is – will the WICB sort things out with Gayle and ask him to join his national side in England. West Indies today went down in 1st test at Lord's, fightingly. Would Gayle’s inclusion in the side give West Indies a much needed shot in the arm? Or should that question have started with the word ‘wouldn’t’?
The England tour was always going to be tough and the WICB and players have traded blows over issues such as player treatment and choosing lucrative franchises over national duty. Other West Indians Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard are playing for Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians respectively. They are through to the play-offs. It’s time for the WICB to do some hard thinking and make some quick decisions. Chris Gayle is a man in form and if anything, he will not only strengthen the side, but also give the West Indian batting a dangerous edge.
At the official presentation of first test, Windies captain Darren Sammy said on the question asked about Gayle joining the team early - "It's not me, it's up to the selectors what happens,"
"He's a very experienced player and we've been having some difficulties at the top of the order. If he comes in, we will welcome him. But the last I heard he is available only for the Twenty20s and one-day internationals this summer. If he makes himself available, I guess the selectors will act accordingly."
While this writer was looking for inputs from various cricket fans, an interesting statement that was obtained was from Adithya Lanka, a self proclaimed Gayle fan. He said, “It’s (Gayle joining the WI test squad) unlikely to happen as there seems to be some kind of an ego clash between Gayle and the WICB. He’s made himself available for WI in all forms of the game. The WICB needs to put their ego aside and look to strengthen their team by having Gayle play.”
Another cricket fan, Amit Gaurav, had a different take on the matter. He said, “Gayle has been playing way too much T20 cricket. It won’t be a walk in the park if he comes back in the West Indies test side. I wouldn’t expect wonders really. What’s best for him and West Indies is for Gayle to play some domestic level longer version of the game and then look for inclusion in the national side.” A point to ponder indeed. What if Gayle fails (and fails miserably at that)? Would it bury his chances for good? Would it damage his confidence that makes him such a big threat in limited overs cricket?
Gayle has 6,373 runs in 91 tests and has a big triple hundred (333) as his highest score.