LONDON, CMC – Head coach Stuart Law has described superstar opener Chris Gayle as a player “committed to the cause” and believes his stellar record for West Indies should count towards “leniency” in his selection.
However, the Australian was careful to note that the veteran left-hander would have to still meet certain “guidelines” but said that from what he had seen during the recent limited overs tour of England, Gayle was still a valuable asset to the side.
“There are certain players you give leniency to. Chris is one of our greatest-ever players. You have got to pay respect to that,” Law told noted cricket website ESPNCricinfo.
“Not saying it is an open draw but there have got to be certain guidelines, which I am still trying to work out. What I saw in the T20 game in Durham and what I saw in the ODI at The Oval was a guy who was committed to the cause.”
The 38-year-old Gayle returned to the Windies One-Day International set-up for the first time in nearly two years last month, making an instant impact on and off the field.
He gathered 173 runs at an average of 43, narrowly missing out on his 23rd ODI hundred when he made a top score of 94 in the third match at Bristol.
Gayle was also credited with helping opening partner Evin Lewis throughout the series and was praised by Captain Jason Holder for offering the benefit of his experience to assist in the leadership of the squad.
Referring to the one-off Twenty20 International at Chester-le-Street which West Indies won, Law said the value of Gayle’s experience had been evident.
“In Durham he slowed the play down for a bit while Evin was batting at the other end,” Law explained.
“Evin was a bit twitchy facing Joe Root. Three dot balls. Chris realised Evin was going to try and hit the next ball for a six. Chris just stopped the play, walked down, had a quick chat and calmed Evin down.”
Lewis went on to make 51 from 28 balls in a 77-run opening stand with Gayle who made 40.
Gayle was one of two experienced players returning to the squad following a decision by Cricket West Indies to relax their controversial eligibility rule, with Marlon Samuels turning out in an ODI series for the first time in nearly a year.
But while Samuels struggled with a mere 61 runs from his four innings, Law said he was in no doubt about the player’s commitment – and that of Gayle’s – to helping West Indies improve. “I have not spoken to them at any length about their involvement in the future, but as far as I am concerned, if they are not committed, why are they here?” Law said. “If they are just playing for the sake of playing, I don’t think that is Marlon or Chris. They are here to play because they want to be here. They have got to perform, yes, but imparting knowledge to the youngsters is invaluable. “It is tough to build a team without that experience together out on the ground, talking through situations. We can send messages from the sideline, but those don’t have the same impact.”