Just when you think that the long-running issue between Chris Gayle and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is over, the left hander received a searing bouncer yesterday, with the news that he needs to meet with the hierarchy of the regional body to now discuss residual matters, in order to stand a chance of getting back into the West Indies team. The WICB sent out a release yesterday stating that the directors of the WICB recently met by teleconference and are pleased that consistent with his previous commitment Gayle has made himself available for selection to the West Indies team. The release continued : “The Board looks forward to Mr Gayle’s indication of his date of availability to meet with the WICB along with Prime Ministers Honourable Baldwin Spencer and Honourable Ralph Gonsalves as had been agreed to clear up residual matters prior to his return to the team.
“The Board believes that Mr Gayle’s stated commitment to West Indies cricket will be an asset to the team and looks forward to his contributions in that regard.” However, sources close to the hurricane batsman said yesterday that he has taken the latest turn badly and is not happy at all. “When Chris met with the selectors and told them that he was available for selection and they agreed, he thought that the matter was over and there was no need to meet the directors again. “He immediately informed English County Somerset with whom he was due to represent in the Friends Prudential T20, that he was no longer honouring his commitment to them and they even considered legal action. Now he is still not sure that he will be chosen to play for the regional team.” After his meeting with the directors, Gayle responded in an e-mail to Dr Hunte in the following way: “Furthermore, I am even more delighted to report that my meeting with the selectors went well, with Mr Butts on behalf of the other selectors present at the meeting indicating that, and I quote from the confirmed minutes of the said meeting, “that once he (Gayle) was available he would be considered for selection once the board gave the necessary clearance.
“Having read your e-mail, which states that the “Board has never and will not now start interfering with the decision of the Selectors” I am pleased that the Board has confirmed that the required clearance has been given. I trust that you will inform the selectors accordingly. As you would appreciate, I am extremely excited to once more wear the maroon and satisfy the West Indian fans by contributing to West Indies cricket so that we once again aim to reach the pinnacle of world cricket.” Hunte responded also by e-mail saying: “I am not sure the basis for your conclusion that the issues have now finally been finally resolved.” Gayle who is currently the top run scorer in the Indian Premier League, told the selectors that he is available for the limited overs part of the tour against England. The source continued: “Chris was already mentally preparing for this return to the regional team, when he received an e-mail from the president of the WICB, Dr Julien Hunte, indicating that making himself available to the selectors was one thing but being chosen was another, as he now needs to meet with the directors to get clearance on the matter. “After Chris received this e-mail he was taken aback and even responded by saying he thought the matter was over and he was just focussing on making a successful return to the regional outfit.” Gayle got into hot water with the WICB after making comments about the current CEO Dr Ernest Hilliare, in a radio interview, in his native Jamaica. Since then it has taken a number of different stakeholders including Caricom to get involved to help bring an end to the seemingly-unending saga.