West Indies batsman Chris Gayle was a surprise absence from the West Indies squad named on Friday for a one-off T20 against Ireland but captain Kieron Pollard returns from injury for the series which also includes England. The 42-year-old Gayle had been expected to be given his international farewell in front of his home crowd at Sabina Park in Kingston.
However The 42-year-old veteran has been a pivotal force in the rise of West Indies cricket and clearing the air about the Jamaican’s adieu, CWI chief Ricky Skerritt has said Gayle will be suitably “thanked and honoured”
But the Jamaican government have announced that fans will not be allowed at sporting events due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However The 42-year-old veteran has been a pivotal force in the rise of West Indies cricket and clearing the air about the Jamaican’s adieu, CWI chief Ricky Skerritt has said Gayle will be suitably “thanked and honoured”
West Indies host Ireland in the three-match International (ODI) Series and a one-off T20 International (T20I) from January 8 to 16. The two-time World Champions then travel to Barbados to face England in five T20Is at Kensington Oval from January 22 to 30.
“Gayle has been a phenomenal performer for Jamaica and the West Indies since he was a teenager. He deserves to be thanked and honoured by fans. Cricket West Indies will find the right way to make that happen in a manner that Chris can enjoy,” Skerritt told Cricbuzz.
Gayle, who has represented West Indies in 103 Tests, 301 ODIs and 79 T20Is, was reportedly going to play the one-off T20 against Ireland to bid adieu to an illustrious international career. But Skerritt said that the board has not yet started the planning for Gayle’s swansong game.
“The story about a farewell selection match for Gayle v Ireland was fabricated by mischief-makers. We’re not defining what such a game (farewell) will look like. The planning has not yet commenced,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kieron Pollard has returned from the hamstring injury to lead the West Indies camp. The 34-year-old all-rounder was ruled out of the tour of Pakistan after failing to recover from a hamstring injury he sustained during the 2021 T20 World Cup.
“We have tried to maintain the general make-up of the squads from the Pakistan Tour before Christmas, with the captain and some senior players coming back in,” said head coach Phil Simmons.
“COVID-19 has also played a part in the final make-up of the squad. The challenges in the next couple of months are getting the young players in both squads to not only improve on their skills but maintain the attitude and desire we saw in Pakistan.”
“We do need to start the year on a high. And we know both Ireland and England have very good teams, so we expect a very strong challenge as we look to improve our chances of automatic qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023 and building the T20 team for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2022.”