Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels look likely to be ineligible to represent West Indies in Twenty20 internationals next year.
The two key batsmen have not been included in Jamaica’s 14-man squad for the 2013 Caribbean Twenty20 from January 6 to 20 in Trinidad and St Lucia.
Instead, they have opted to offer their services for the entire duration of Australia’s Big Bash which runs from December 7 to January 19.
By not playing in the Caribbean Twenty20, Gayle and Samuels will not fulfill the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) selection criteria which states: “For a player to be eligible for selection to the West Indies Twenty20 squad the player must make himself available for selection to his territorial squad for the WICB Caribbean Twenty20 Tournament.”
The selection guidelines were established by the WICB in 2010 and when contacted yesterday, the board’s corporate communications officer Imran Khan confirmed that the rule was still in effect.
MIDWEEKSPORT investigations, however, revealed that the door might not be completely closed on Gayle and Samuels.
It is understood that the WICB is contemplating a change in its rules regarding selection criteria.
Gayle will once again play for Sydney Thunder while Samuels has signed with Melbourne Renegades for the first time.
“I’m really happy to have re-signed with Thunder. The squad is looking good with a solid mix of youth and experience. I can’t wait to get amongst it,” Gayle said on the team’s website.
Gayle’s decision comes less than a year after his return to the West Indies team following an absence of 15 months because of a dispute with the WICB and after the board relaxed its selection criteria to accommodate his inclusion in the team for the 2012 ICC World Twenty20.
While Gayle and Samuels are not in the Jamaica team, other players with deals in Australia’s Big Bash will cut short their stints to come back home to play in the Caribbean Twenty20.
Big-hitting Kieron Pollard is returning to the Adelaide Strikers, while off-spinner Sunil Narine, the MVP on his debut appearance in the Indian Premier League earlier this year, will turn out for Sydney Sixers but both players have made themselves available to represent Trinidad and Tobago.
Fast bowler Kemar Roach, who has not been named in the Barbados squad for the regional tournament, will also have a stint in a Big Bash after landing a contract with Brisbane Heat.
Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann, a former Australia batsman, is looking forward to the arrival of Roach.
“I had the privilege of coaching Kemar in the Indian Premier League and he is a quality young man,” Lehmann said.
“Did I mention that he bowls lightning quick? He will fit in perfectly with our culture at the Brisbane Heat and I reckon he will quickly become a crowd favourite. The opposition bats will hate him – and that’s great.”