(Trinidad Express) There are still elements in the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) who do not want Chris Gayle to return to the regional team.
This is according to the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), as it responded via press release on Monday to reports which published material from emails between WICB and Gayle, in which the Jamaican batsman asked for a commitment from the Board as to whether he will be selected for the upcoming tour of England.
Gayle is currently playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Royal Challengers Bangalore. And earlier this year, before a resolution to the year-long impasse between the left-handed batsman and WICB was reached, Gayle had agreed to represent English County club Somerset in their domestic T20 competition.
Gayle will miss the Test series, but following the resolutions, was expected to be made eligible for selection for the limited overs part of the tour. The Friends Life T20, in which Somerset will participate, will clash with the West Indies tour of England, which begins on Saturday, and ends on June 24.
The reports also quoted WICB CEO Ernest Hilaire as describing Gayle’s request as “completely” contradictory to the agreement reached in the memorandum of resolution that effectively ended the impasse. That resolution was reached partly through the intervention of St Vincent and the Grenadines prime minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves.
WIPA was also “disturbed and disappointed at this transparent and continuous attempt to tarnish Mr Gayle’s good name and public image”.
The WIPA released stated that the “true extent” of the discussions between Gayle and the Board had not been made public.
The players’ body was perplexed at the “leak” of the “confidential documents”, it added, given that new WIPA CEO Michael Hall had been in discussions with a “senior member of the WICB” with the aim of returning Gayle to the Windies team for the latter part of the England tour.
The release quoted Hall as saying the board member, who Hall felt would have had the “authority and blessing of the board” to have “substantive talks” with WIPA, had agreed that Gayle’s request was “eminently reasonable”.
The WIPA letter continued: “WIPA is concerned by the mixed signals being sent by the WICB, which lead us to conclude that the WICB’s house is divided, some sections desiring that the Gayle matter should be resolved, and a few who simply do not want Gayle to represent the West Indies for reasons best known to them.”
Still, the release stated, Gayle and WIPA “remain committed” to “working closely with all parties of like mind” to resolve the ongoing issue “in the best interest of West Indies cricket”.