x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Chris Gayle's absence from West Indies team mystifying

Gayle has been selected to play in the limited-overs series next up, but why not give him a piece of the five-day action?

Chris Gayle has been in cracking form in the shortest format.
Chris Gayle has been in cracking form in the shortest format.

Just why Chris Gayle has not been drafted into the West Indies XI for the Test series in England is a puzzle. Fair enough, he has been selected to play in the limited-overs series next up, but why not give him a piece of the five-day action?

Darren Sammy was diplomatic when asked if he would want the left-hander back in the team following his year-long pay dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board. "We as a team welcome anybody who is selected to play for the West Indies," the captain said.

Sammy did not want to annoy one of his closest friends nor did he want to get on the wrong side of anyone in the administration. Self-preservation is natural.

But the man whose selection has become an issue of debate for political rather than cricketing reasons would walk into any team – club or country – with the right paperwork.

He has scored 2,591 runs in 20-over cricket in the past 17 months for the Barisal Burners, Dhaka Gladiators, Kolkata Knight Riders, Matabeleland Tuskers, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Stanford Superstars and Sydney Thunder.

And with an average of 57 and strike rate of 170 in varying conditions and match situations, who can dispute he is the best batman in the shortest format?

But his critics back home do not have to look at those numbers. The 32 year old has scored over 14,000 runs and taken 240 wickets across all formats for the West Indies, a team he has always loved to play for.

This West Indies side are a promising lot, but they haven't been able to close out matches from winning situations against India, Australia or England. Precisely because they don't have the experience to do so.

Does it then not make sense for Gayle, in his frame of mind, to be given a chance to play and lead by example?

ckadalayil@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE