Guyanese will be entertained by Chris Gayle this weekend in the inaugural Hits and Jams Twenty20 competition at the National Stadium.
But the great majority will prefer to see the hard hitting, prolific opener in action in the maroon West Indies colours instead.
To be brutally honest, no one knows when again he will don those colours as his return to the team is being impeded by an increasingly obstinate West Indies Cricket Board, which is adding another trait to its longstanding reputation for incompetence.
You can only conclude this Board comprises mainly a bunch of egotistical men parading as administrative experts, who want the dynamic batsman to grovel at their feet before he is selected again, given no resolution is in sight to the stand-off.
We do not know for sure what the WICB wants from Gayle to enable his return to the team, following his trashing of the Board in that three-month old explosive radio interview that spurred a war between itself , the player and his representatives.
You get the impression the Board executives regard themselves bigger than every-one else in the sport – more important than the players and the fans, and are so miffed that a player vented his feelings at their expense, he has to be punished for three months and counting
Yet every fan around the world knows that WICB is the last cricket administration that can be justified to react as intensely negative as it has to Gayle’s criticism.
The Board’s litany of failures and mismanagement over the years would make even Humpty Dumpty blush.
Gayle has a reputation for being a no-holds-barred straight talker who is never afraid to speak his mind when made upset by anyone.
Agreed, he was out of order in labeling team coach Gibson a “user” and stretched the truth in claiming that no WICB official was in contact with him during his rehabilitation from injury after the World Cup, as stated in the interview. No one knows if he forget about his internet conversations with team physiotherapist CJ Clarke at the time but the released transcripts prove he was in contact indirectly with the Board.
Nevertheless, nothing else said by Gayle in the interview should have warranted anything more than a Board imposed fine and have him back in the swing of things opening the batting for the long gone series against Pakistan and India.
Given the fact that Board CEO Ernest Hillaire provoked the player by rushing to the media with negative opinions when he sought permission to play in the IPL, there is no reason to keep Gayle out of action for this long.
Gayle has made it patently clear he is ready to resume his international career but so far two international series have come and gone with the team’s best batsman being debarred following that outspoken radio interview.
The Board has a requirement for its contracted players, of which Gayle is not, to refrain from making public comments that would bring the game into “disrepute”, among other stringent rules.
The extent of the Board’s flawed sense of self importance and proven double standards are thus revealed, because officials are allowed to castigate players whenever their mouths get the itch.
Hillaire is on record deeming West Indian players illiterate among other disreputable remarks made publicly in the past, and of course there is the famous Board director who likened Gayle to Jamaica’s most wanted criminal, in the last few years.
If the WICB wants to set standards, behavioral and otherwise for its players, it must first start with itself, which is mainly responsible for having the team dawdling at the bottom of the world rankings for more than a decade, through clear mismanagement.
Gayle made a small fortune after his controversial appearance for Bangalore in the IPL and he should buy mirrors for president Julian Hunte and the rest of WICB.
Because they need to seriously look at themselves before punishing anyone else.
Hunte himself was advised to resign a few years ago by the team’s sponsor Digicel whose owner Denis O’Brien castigated the President’s carelessness in handling sponsorship details that developed into a major row between the latter and investor Allen Stanford, that eventually cost the WICB millions of US dollars in a lost lawsuit in England.
Hunte is still in office, despite more reports emanating from within the Board of it losing many more millions through breach of contract lapses.
Also we heard of no one being fired for the inefficiencies that resulted in mammoth embarrassment from the Sir Vivian Richards stadium Test match fiasco in Antigua in 2009.
The list can go on and on including the inability of the Board to acquire sponsorship for its four-day and 50-overs competitions for three years and counting. The two-year-old T20 championship is also bereft of a funder and as for the Under-19 competition, it has been without a sponsor for so long, it is difficult to remember the last one it had.
Yet the bulging staff at the Board’s factory Road Office and around the Region is getting larger, wasting financial resources.
At the same time the Board is unable to find batting and fielding coaches among other needs for its team.
Maybe Gayle needs to add another gift for his adversaries on the Board to end this standoff.
Michael Jackson’s 1988 hit song “ Man In The Mirror” would be most appropriate.