Antigua, CMC – Sir Vivian Richards has condemned the West Indies Cricket Board for their handling of their dispute with batting star Chris Gayle.
The West Indies legend said he did not agree with every decision or approach taken by Gayle in handling some of the issues he faced with the WICB.
But Sir Viv said he found it difficult to understand how the WICB could tow such a hard line when the regional governing body has not been living up to their responsibilities as the guardians of the game.
“I would like to believe that at present, the WICB is basically making Chris Gayle out to be this villain about apologising and what he has got to do, the criteria that is required for him to be part of the unit again, and I just think that’s a little far-fetched in my opinion,” he told the Antigua Observer newspaper.
“Let me also take this opportunity to also say that I am not in Chris Gayle’s corner (with) most decisions he makes, but I think that this whole issue itself, it is very potent enough that I feel he needs some support where these matters are concerned.”
Gayle has not played for West Indies since the World Cup, after roundly criticising the WICB in an interview with a Jamaican radio station.
Gayle has remained sidelined after several meetings and the WICB has demanded an apology from the estranged opener, which he has refused.
Richards felt the WICB had no moral ground on which to make such a heavy demand on Gayle.
“It is ludicrous for them now wanting Chris Gayle to come with some apology when they, knowing that something was wrong and maybe these are some of the issues Chris Gayle was trying to address and nobody was listening before,” said Richards.
“He may or may not apologise, but that’s his particular call. What I am saying is that how dare them at this point wanting so much from Chris when they have given so little.”
Sir Vivian said he could not advise Gayle what route he should take, but it was clear that he wanted to play for West Indies – and that he could make a difference to the fortunes of the side.
“I guess just judging from what I would have seen that he clearly wants to be in the West Indies team,” he said.
“But sometimes you need to go through these periods of time where there are tribulations and you can shape your whole life how you want to in future and I guess that he realises this and he is getting older and he would like to make a contribution.”
He said: “I guess there can be a turnaround because what I do see and maybe it was all in evidence for us to have a look as well, when he was in the IPL, how enthusiastic he looked.
“He was jumping around just having fun and after seeing that, maybe given another opportunity, he could help to shape things.”
Gayle is in Australia now, preparing for the Big Bash League Twenty20, where he will play for the Sydney Thunder.