x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

West Indies board tried engaging with Chris Gayle

Ernest Hilaire, the West Indies Cricket Board chairman, says he tried to engage Chris Gayle in matters of selection for the upcoming home series against Pakistan.

A war of words has ensued between Chris Gayle and the West Indies Cricket Board since he joined Royal Challengers Bangalore, the IPL team.
A war of words has ensued between Chris Gayle and the West Indies Cricket Board since he joined Royal Challengers Bangalore, the IPL team.

Ernest Hilaire, the chief of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has said his organisation had worked "exceedingly hard" to reach out to Chris Gayle before leaving him out of the West Indies squad for the first two one-day internationals against Pakistan.

Hilaire was responding to Gayle, who had earlier said the board had not consulted with him before making their decision.

Gayle is now playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Royal Challengers Bangalore, having not originally been selected in the draft.

He hit an emphatic century in his first match and scored 26 off 14 balls against Delhi last night.

West Indies are down 0-2 in the five-match series against Pakistan.

"We can dispel all that Chris [Gayle] said by releasing the letters and e-mails [between the two parties]," Hilaire told the Line & Length Network. "But we should not do that.

"You communicate with a player, you ask for his opinions, you ask for him to account on certain statements he made, you ask him what's his position on certain things and you expect to be treated with a certain degree of confidence.

"You expect when the coach pulls a player aside and speaks to him there is a certain level of respect for that conversation. And against that background I'm not going to try to prove Chris Gayle wrong.

"What's more important is to state that we're very disappointed in the way in Chris has decided to respond. I think he is being ill-advised. We've worked exceedingly hard to reach out to Chris - numerous attempts - letters, phone calls, e-mails. He is being advised and he will act in the way in which he sees best."

Hilaire revealed that the WICB had decided to allow Gayle to play in the lucrative IPL.

"We've stated - it is not that we do not want the players to earn a living," Hilaire said. "We want them to earn a living but we also want them to honour their commitment to West Indies cricket. So we spoke to [Kieron] Pollard, [Dwayne] Bravo and Chris.

"Last October when the three players did not sign the retainer contracts, we wrote to them and said 'tell us what the issues are so we can address it moving forward'," Hilaire said.

"We had some exchanges, a couple of constructive ones, one not very constructive but we decided we were going to continue to engage the players. We did not want a situation where we pick the players to play for West Indies and they miss out on IPL, they are then bitter, disappointed, they wish they were at IPL. We would not benefit, they would not benefit.

"Two of the players [Pollard and Bravo] were very cooperative, very supportive, that they can work out an arrangement with us where they can meet their commitments to West Indies cricket as far as the selectors would want them to but also get a chance to play in the IPL.

"It did not exactly work out with Chris but when the point came and he said he was not available for selection, we did give him the NOC [no-objection certificate needed to play in the IPL] because it is not about revenge, it is not about denying him the opportunity."

Pollard, who would be a certain pick for West Indies' one-day team, is playing in the IPL for Mumbai Indians.

Bravo, who missed all but one game in the World Cup with injury, is playing for West Indies, but is set to miss the Test leg of the Pakistan tour to play in the IPL.

Hilaire said the board had been led to believe that Gayle was undergoing rehabilitation, and would be available to play against Pakistan once he was fully fit.

"We said to Chris repeatedly that as far as we are concerned you're injured, you're doing a rehabilitative programme, and that when you're finished we want you tested and if you're available we'll pick you to play for West Indies," Hilaire said.

"If you don't want to play we have no difficulty in giving you the NOC once you say you're not available for selection, and he said he was not available for selection and we gave him the NOC."

* Cricinfo