Why I’m siding with Chris Gayle

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There are two clear ways to approach the Chris Gayle/West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) situation. One is to judge him based on his apparent preference to make money playing for franchises rather than represent the country he once captained. However, the other less popular stance is to see him as a banished pariah who has finally taken a stand against a system that is beyond reproach. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between, but given that option one has been given so much airplay, I want to discuss in detail the merits of the latter.

I guess the idea for this article first germinated in my skull when I saw Gayle cheer on and then embrace his former teammates at Sabina Park in a game against India. It was clear then that whilst Gayle was certainly having a dig at the administrators, he was also still passionate about his team, as were his teammates upon noticing him being there. Since then Gayle has been plying his trade for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and will soon travel to Australia to play in the Big Bash League. Meanwhile, his national teammates are playing a series in Bangladesh, which may sound inconsequential, but actually pits seventh against ninth in the ICC rankings. As such, it is quite an important series.

So, with this firmly in the back of my brain, I was shocked into action today when I read the following headline on Cricinfo: ‘Gayle to be considered if he retracts statements’. The following is an excerpt from the first paragraph:

Chris Gayle will only be considered for selection for the West Indies if he retracts statement he has made about the West Indies board and its officers

Now, the last time I heard about a player not getting picked because he hadn’t said ‘sorry’ was in the schoolyard! What a joke! The only conclusion to draw from this absurd situation is that the WICB is so offended that they’d prefer their team to not have it’s best player who is quite possibly at the peak of his considerable powers.

Clive Lloyd, the director of the WICB, has at least commented that he believes Gayle can still ‘contribute meaningfully’ to the team, but only if he retracts his criticisms of the Board. I think anyone who has seen Gayle in action of late could probably attest to the fact that Gayle could contribute a damn site more than just ‘meaningfully’. As such, the WICB are biting off their nose despite their face, particularly given anyone with half a brain would criticise the WICB. I mean you would hardly call them the envy of all cricketing boards. They serve up rotten stadiums with unplayable pitches and seem to provoke player strikes every second year. So, if a player who has been treated like dirt by his own board choses to speak out, what do they do? Tell him he can’t play until he grovels on his knees. Now that’s leadership.

While it may appear otherwise, I don’t want to seem that I am completely on Gayle’s side. I do think that he probably likes the easy money of T20 a bit too much. However, I think that his penchant for ease is based on a situation with his national side that is simply too hard, and as such, until the WICB change their attitude I’ll be happy to woop and scream when he’s smashing sixes in the Big Bash this summer.

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  1. Erez says

    As much as I like Gayle the player, and think he’s mostly the victim in this case, and as much as I think Clive Lloyd the administrator is demolishing a lot of the good things set in place by Clive Lloyd the Captain, there is no way I can side with what you’re saying.

    If a player is bad mouthing the board, there is no way the board can re-institute the player, without the player at least taking back his words, and at the very least apologises. This is like a player going against the captain on the field. It’s not that the board is always right (in the WICB, it’s usually the other way round), but that if players, any players, regardless of stature or importance to the team speaks against the board and goes unnoticed, the board cannot then require other players to do as they told.

    If a player doesn’t think Sammy is a good captain, why should he follow him? Because the board told him? Who are they? They can’t even pay us on time, get proper facilities and do their goddamn job. Coach tells me to work on my front foot batting, why should I even listen to him, when the other players have openly stated that they don’t trust the board, or any of the professional team they put in place?

    The WICB is a huge problem, and can be only addressed in two ways, publicly, but outside the system, or inside the system, but not publicly, otherwise the entire structure will implode.

  2. blaise says

    Thanks for your considered reply Erez. I did note in the article that I was deliberately taking a very ‘pro-Gayle’ stance given the amount of negative press he receives, but to a certain extent you are right. Bad mouthing the board isn’t a great look, but I guess my view is that the WICB, as you note, is a board like no other and that perhaps the usual rules should be looked over in this case.

    Maybe it will take the actions of someone like Gayle, however outlandish, to shake things up enough to get things moving in the Caribbean, no?

    One thing is for certain, the Windies need him, and the board has done nothing for that side in 20 years, so something has to give there surely…

  3. Arvind Agrawal says

    It is a travesty that the Windies Board is hurting the interests of Caribbean Cricket by insisting upon an unnecessary&uncalled for apology from Gayle to the detriment of West Indian cricket.Only cricketers of the stature of Gayle,Dwayne Bravo&J.Taylor can inspire&motivate team members. Darren Sammy is a liability both as a player & a captain & ought to be replaced forthwith for resurrection of Windies Cricket.

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