x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Gayle is ready to rock again for the Caribbean side

A truce is in place for now, but how long will it last? If Caribbean cricket's mandarins start respecting their players then it should hold.

West Indies' Chris Gayle will return to play ODIs in the series against England on Saturday.
West Indies' Chris Gayle will return to play ODIs in the series against England on Saturday.

On Saturday, English weather permitting, of course, Chris Gayle will finally return to the West Indies line-up after more than a year squabbling with the West Indies Cricket Board.

Gayle's last game for his national team was the March 2011 World Cup quarter-final against Pakistan. He has not played a Test match since December, 2010. In the interim, he has missed 16 five-day games, 23 one-day internationals and seven Twenty20s. His fault? He dared to criticise coach Ottis Gibson, and the West Indies cricket board.

As the saga dragged on, the heads of states of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) were forced to intervene and they managed to broker a peace deal between Gayle and the West Indies Cricket Board.

A truce is in place for now, but how long will it last? If Caribbean cricket's mandarins, particularly its chief Ernest Hilaire, start respecting their players then it should hold. Hilaire compared Gayle to one of Jamaica's drug lords Christopher "Dudus" Coke, and that comment played a major part in the impasse.

Should Hilaire commit another of those gaffes, then West Indies cricket will be the loser yet again. In the past 15 months, the banishment from international cricket did nothing to harm Gayle's stock. He has played around the globe in T20 leagues in this period, from Zimbabwe to Australia and the Indian Premier League.

The Jamaican is a bigger star now than he ever was playing for the West Indies and his audacious batting performances in the IPL are a big reason for that.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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