All differences rectified - Gayle
LONDON, ENGLAND - Chris Gayle, who played his first innings in West Indies colours since the 2011 World Cup against Middlesex on Wednesday, has said that all differences between him and the WICB have been resolved and his aim now is to give a lift to Caribbean cricket.
"Everything has been rectified," Gayle said. "The main objective is to contribute to West Indies cricket and uplift it. I'm available for all formats of the game. Hopefully I can get some runs in whites and in coloured clothes."
Gayle had been in international exile after the World Cup following the breakdown of his relationship with the WICB and was restricted to plying his trade, quite successfully, in domestic Twenty20 leagues around the world. After prolonged discussions with the WICB, Gayle eventually pulled out of a contract with Somerset to show his commitment to West Indies, following which he was selected in the squad for the limited-overs series against England.
He began his comeback with 34 off 30 deliveries in the West Indians' big win over Middlesex in the tour match at Lord's and admitted to feeling "a bit nervous" at the start. "It is good to be back in my No. 45 jersey I represented West Indies in once. I started out a bit nervous, I am human, but things came along well after that. Unfortunately I got out. I am looking forward to the first ODI and should be in a better state of mind."
Gayle said at the moment it was very important for him to fit into the squad as quickly as possible. "Once you get settled in everything will come back to normal. You get that feel again in any environment which you have been out of for a year. Once you get back that feeling, once you get back into your comfort zone, things will be much easier.
"I want to contribute more. Hopefully get a few more centuries for West Indies. The most important thing is to try and get a couple of series wins. Because the pressure has been there. Even when I wasn't playing, the pressure has still been there outside. I am still a part of it whichever way you look at it."
Gayle has declared himself available for all three formats of the game, so should return to Test cricket on July 25 against New Zealand in Antigua - his first Test since December 2010. His return also provides a major boost to West Indies' chances at the World T20 in September.
In the absence of Gayle, and another veteran Ramnaresh Sarwan, West Indies' focus has been on building a squad for the future under coach Ottis Gibson and captain Darren Sammy. Gayle agreed that youngsters were the future. "When you look at guys like Adrian Barath or Kieran Powell or even young Darren Bravo, they have long contributions to make for West Indies cricket. They are the future. You cannot just hide them or throw them away. You still have to keep them in the group. And hopefully with experience things are going to be well."
Looking ahead to the ODI series against England, Gayle said while West Indies have a talented squad with plenty of powerhitters, they "still have a lot to do by rotating the strike, picking up the singles and playing smart cricket."
England and West Indies play three ODIs and a T20 later this month with the first one-dayer at West End on June 16.