Finally the wait is over. Fans waiting to see Chris Gayle – presently the world’s most popular cricketing mercenary – back in action, will finally breathe easy. The ‘Calypso King’ appears to have buried the hatchet as far as his differences with the West Indies Cricket Board go and is back in the reckoning to do what he does best – ‘Hammer ‘em outta the park.’ Several attempts had been made in the past from both sides, but egos, personal differences and issues related to alleged improper handling kept creating roadblocks for Gayle to represent the West Indies at the highest level.
Chris Gayle and the WICB have apparently called truce over their fifteen month stand-off which saw neither side backing down. Gayle insisted that he was treated poorly by the board, while the board said that Gayle didn’t accept mandates handed to him and instead went about doing thing his own way. All of that is now water under the bridge. The man with the potential to single-handedly decimate a bowling attack has been recalled by the WICB for the forthcoming one day series against England. Starting June 16, Gayle gets his time in the sun. According to a cricket website, an array of meetings have occurred between Gayle and his manager Michael Hall with at least two heads of state of the Carribean islands (St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer), the WICB president Julian Hunte, director Elson Crick and legal officer Alanna Medford. Interestingly the WICB chief executive officer Ernest Hilaire wasn’t mentioned as one of the people that Gayle met. Hilaire has made disguised jabs at Gayle and Gayle had reciprocated the same feelings. Following the meetings, the WICB issued a statement which read, “Directors of the West Indies Cricket Board recently met by teleconference and are pleased that consistent with his previous commitment Mr Chris Gayle has made himself available for selection to the West Indies team. The board believes that Mr Gayle's stated commitment to West Indies cricket will be an asset to the team and looks forward to his contributions in that regard.”
Chairman of the West Indies’ cricket team’s selection panel, Clyde Butts welcomed Gayle back into the ODI squad and said, “Chris is a player of proven quality and we are looking forward to him adding this dimension to the side and his contributions as a senior member of the squad.”
Over the last couple of months, Gayle has established himself as one of the most dangerous batsmen in the shorter version of the game. Playing for the RCB in the recently concluded IPL 5, Gayle appeared to be the difference maker in most games. It were his innings that literally took the games away from the opposition. West Indian fans had been repeatedly asking for Gayle’s return, especially after the big Jamaican had made himself available to play for the West Indies in all forms of the game. It comes as no surprise that the WICB have had a change of heart and have included Gayle in the one day squad.
From a cricket fan’s perspective, it pleases one to no ends that with Gayle playing for the Windies, at least the one day series won’t be a one-sided affair like the test series (England have already won 2-0 with the last game to be played on Thursday).
West Indies ODI squadChris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Lendl Simmons,