Gayle on the attack
CHRIS GAYLE is talking loudly off the cricket field and even more vociferously on it.
The outspoken opening batsman marked his belated entry into the Indian Premier League (IPL) yesterday in spectacular fashion with an awesome century that lifted Royal Challengers Bangalore to an easy nine-wicket victory over his former team Kolkata Knight Riders.
Hours before his belligerent unbeaten 102 of 55 balls that was the second fastest hundred of this year’s tournament, Gayle was again unleashing another verbal attack on West Indies cricket authorities.
It was his sustained display of power hitting at Eden Gardens, however, that commanded more attention.Gayle, a late replacement for injured Australian fast bowler Dirk Nannes, floored his old franchise by lashing ten fours and seven sixes in helping chase a target of 172 that was achieved with 11 balls to spare.
The left-hander put on 123 for the first wicket with Tillakaratne Dilshan (38 off 31 balls) and an unbroken 52 for the second wicket with Virat Kohli (30 not out off 23 balls) as Bangalore registered a much-needed win after going four matches without a victory.
Before stepping onto the field, Gayle issued a statement through the West Indies Players’ Association in which he took another swipe at the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) following his omission from the regional team for the first two Digicel One-Day Internationals against Pakistan.
“I want to play cricket for West Indies. I am a West Indian first and it has been a privilege to play for my country and the West Indies,” he said.
“The only reason I asked to be made ineligible from the Pakistan tour was to try and continue playing cricket for a living. I was dropped from the West Indies team with no communication whatsoever, with no hope of being able to play cricket again for West Indies.
“I found out I was dropped from the team through the media and was then told by the WICB that the only way they would release me to go and play cricket in the IPL was to make myself ineligible for the Pakistan tour. I was forced into that position.”
In expressing its surprise that Gayle was preparing to play in the IPL, the WICB said on Wednesday it was under the clear impression that the player was recovering from injury and was undergoing rehabilitation work with a view to resume training.
While granting Gayle a No-Objection Certificate to play in the IPL, the WICB said it was most disappointed with the manner in which the former team captain had handled the entire situation, especially given the mature and cooperative manner in which two other players who refused contracts – Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard – had made themselves available for selection and agreed to an understanding in the best interest of West Indies cricket.