Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 October 2019

Cricket World Cup 2019: Chris Gayle not retiring just yet, West Indies opener now says

'Universe Boss', who had this year declared he would end 50-overs career, wants to play Test series against India

West Indies opener Chris Gayle, who made his international debut in 1999, will turn 40 in September. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo
West Indies opener Chris Gayle, who made his international debut in 1999, will turn 40 in September. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo

West Indies batsman Chris Gayle on Wednesday chose the opportune stage and time, a one day before the all-important Cricket World Cup clash with India, to announce his career plans post-World Cup. In a nutshell, he will not be retiring from internationals just yet.

Gayle backtracked on his previously stated intention to hang his bat from one-day international cricket after the World Cup. He also suggested he might make himself available for a first Test appearance in five years.

Earlier this year, the 39-year-old declared he would end his 50-overs career after the tournament. But, speaking ahead of the India clash, the self-proclaimed 'Universe Boss' penned a new script.

In the same breath as ruling himself out of August's Twenty20 double-header against India in Florida, he seemed to set his sights on the subsequent ODI series and - most improbably - a 104th Test cap.

Asked what lay ahead, he said: "Maybe a Test match against India and then I'll play, definitely play the ODIs against India. I won't play the T20s. That's my plan after World Cup."

Gayle also said he deserved to be considered alongside the greats of West Indies cricket.

The swashbuckling opener said he was hopeful of the West Indies sneaking into the World Cup semi-finals, but that the odds were stacked heavily against them.

Jason Holder's team began the tournament with a comprehensive seven-wicket win against Pakistan but soon lost momentum and that remains their only victory in six matches.

"What I really wanted was actually to be in that play-off," Gayle said. "What I really wanted was to be in that final four and then to be able to get my hands on the World Cup. We'll see what happens."

Gayle, who hit 87 in his team's heartbreaking five-run loss to New Zealand on Saturday, said he would always cherish his two decades playing for the West Indies.

"I'm definitely up there with the greats, without a doubt. Like I say, I enjoy each and every moment playing for West Indies," Gayle said on Wednesday. "It's still not the end. I still have a few games to go. Maybe another series to go. Who knows? We'll see what happens."

"I started my career with the likes of Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose," he added. "You watch them on TV and you realise they're in the dressing room, it's just a bunch of guys."

Holder said Gayle had been a positive influence on the younger players.

"I think he's done a hell of a job, more so off the field and also on the field. And he's been obviously one who holds a presence in the dressing room," Holder said.

"And the guys really look up to him and they shared a lot of knowledge over the past couple of weeks. He's been firm when he had to be firm and he's been honest."

Holder also said he wants his teammates to put everything together in a "perfect" performance against India.

Batsmen Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran and Carlos Brathwaite have shown glimpses of what they can offer but have failed to win games for the team. Brathwaite, in particular, was impressive when he hit his first ODI century in their defeat to New Zealand.

The captain, however, urged his team to show fight against Virat Kohli's unbeaten side, who look certain to reach the semi-finals.

"We've shown glimpses here and there of what we can produce. And as a side we just haven't brought it together collectively more often than not," Holder added. "And it's hurt us in games before.

"So tomorrow is another opportunity for us to bring it all together and play a perfect game."

Updated: June 26, 2019 09:36 PM

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