KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Superstar opener Chris Gayle has set his sights on the 2019 World Cup in England and a possible farewell Test as he targets a return to international cricket for West Indies.
The 37-year-old left-hander, one of the most decorated Windies cricketers of modern times, has not played international cricket since helping the Caribbean side to their capture of the Twenty20 World Cup in India last year April.
Furthermore, Gayle has not represented West Indies in one-dayers since the last World Cup in Australia and New Zealand two years ago and also has not suited up in the longest format in three years.
But the Jamaican, who has morphed himself into one of the most globally sought-after T20 specialists, said he was making plans to be a part of the ODI and Test squads again soon.
“I still want to play for West Indies. Whether it will be a farewell Test match but I still want to play a Test match for West Indies as well and I want to play the next 50-over World Cup as well so I’m looking forward to that next year,” Gayle told Massy Insurance’s Line and Length Network.
“That’s in the plans for next year. I’m looking forward to all these things.”
Gayle, a former West Indies captain, has dominated every format of the game throughout his 17-year career. He has compiled 7214 runs from 103 Tests at an average of 42, and is one of only four batsmen in history with two triple centuries.
He has also notched 9221 runs from 269 ODIs at an average of 37 with 22 hundreds and is one of two players in the game with two T20 International centuries.
However, it has been in T20 franchise cricket where he has made his biggest impact in recent years and recently became the first batsman to pass 10 000 runs in the format.
In view of returning to international cricket, he said there would be the issue of balancing his T20 commitments and fitness.
“[Franchise cricket] shouldn’t be a problem. I’m just trying to monitor all these things as we go on,” he explained.
“I’m working out trying to keep the body fit and slim and trim. To keep up with the youngsters these days is never going to be easy but the mind is always willing. Once the body is right you can expect anything from Chris Gayle.”
Gayle, along with a plethora of Caribbean stars, have been kept out of the international side because of the controversial eligibility rule which mandates players to make themselves available for the domestic leagues in order to qualify for West Indies selection.
With many of the global T20 leagues clashing with the Windies domestic tournaments, many of the leading players have opted to commit to their franchise contracts.
Gayle said he was hopeful that such issues could be thrashed out with Cricket West Indies so his return could be facilitated.
“It’s just the challenges that are ahead and once we can work together on how to [manage] things from a player’s point of view with the WICB as well, [I will be looking forward to playing],” he stressed.
“So we’re looking forward to that and hopefully we can come to some agreement how to go back and get back on the international scene. But for now that’s my plan – to play another World Cup for West Indies and try and take it from there.”
Gayle suits up for the first time in 15 months today when the turns out for West Indies in the one-off T20 against India at Sabina Park.