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A THORNY ISSUE – Question is, if not Gayle, who?

ANDI THORNHILL, [email protected]

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IF NOT Chris Gayle, who?This could be the question occupying the minds of West Indies cricket supporters now that the recent actions of the Jamaican selectors have cast doubts about Gayle’s continuation as West Indies captain.The appointment of Tamar Lambert to lead Jamaica in the Regional Twenty20 Tournament is stunning when you consider that Gayle is available.It is true that Lambert has led his country to some success and the selectors may be thinking of continuity, but the resignation of former chairman of selectors, Nehemiah Perry, could be an indication that there was no unanimity in naming Lambert as skipper. Still, any way you look at it, it seems to be a slap in the face of Gayle.And quite frankly, those who recommend the captain to the West Indies Cricket Board could argue, if they had to, that they were not obliged to consider Gayle to lead on the next international tour because he was overlooked by his own board for such a role.Suffice to say right now that there is a question mark over the controversial left-hander’s future as the leader of the regional team.Realistically, Gayle’s tenure has had mixed reviews from the pundits. He is definitely seen as a captain who has the support of his players, but others see him as one that is too laid back and passive to motivate them most of the time in the hour of need. His “Mr Cool” persona doesn’t endear him to those who feel he should be showing much more emotion in the middle.He, of course, leads by inspiration when he is battering bowling attacks and in recent times when he hasn’t produced the goods, his troops have been very meek in their submission to the opposition.Gayle has taken most of the stick and some think they have seen enough. They believe he should be shown the door.It must be noted, too, that the outspoken Jamaican has had his share of run-ins with the administration. It has been the perception among many that they feared his tongue as though it was a dose of poison.However, with a string of defeats since beating Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 at Kensington Oval, West Indies cricket administrators may just be feeling that now is the right time to ditch him, knowing full well that the majority of West Indians might welcome a change at the top.The question is, who will take over?Dwayne Bravo is the current vice-captain, so he should be in line to move up the ladder. On his day he can be a very good motivator. He is always in the game and can command a play in the team.Fellow Trinidadian Darren Ganga will have to be noted because he is regarded as the best natural leader in the region, but the only question is whether he can keep his place in the squad. Some point to the fact that England’s Mike Brearley was in the same boat as Ganga but did a fantastic job when the English were looking for someone to steady the ship.The argument now is that leadership is lacking in the team and Ganga could be the anchor we need.I get the impression that former captains Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan aren’t interested in the job, so the only other option is Darren Sammy of the Windwards.Truth be told, Sammy looked every bit a leader in the shorter versions of the game all season.Outside of some excellent individual performances he could be seen motivating other members of the squad. He was pivotal in helping to direct traffic in the middle. He cut a very impressive picture.I think he is still growing in stature and the one thing that might go against him is that he has only played a handful of Tests, which to my mind is no fault of his.For sure the Gaylewinds have lost a lot of force and a new skipper is destined to lead the troops amid the continued winds of change.• Andi Thornhill is sports editor at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation. He can be reached at [email protected]