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Chris Gayle considering ‘comeback’ agreement

Chris Gayle considering ‘comeback’ agreement

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Cricket fans who had been hoping that contorversial opening batsman Chris Gayle will return to the West Indies team in time for remainder of the Australian tour, or even for the upcoming tour of the region by England, are not likely to get their wish.{{more}}

Up to press time on Wednesday evening, the outspoken Jamaican was said to be still considering an agreement which would clear the way for him to return to active duty on the West Indies cricket team, a source close to the negotiations told SEARCHLIGHT.

The agreement has already been signed by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Julian Hunte and Prime Minister of Antigua Baldwin Spencer, who witnessed it on behalf of CARICOM.

Hunte and Spencer signed the agreement on Sunday at the end of a meeting convened by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves at the Young Island Resort, and which was attended by Hunte, Spencer, Gayle and Gonsalves.

Gayle flew into St. Vincent last Sunday morning on a private jet accompanied by Gonsalves. Sources told SEARCHLIGHT that Gonsalves left St. Vincent on the jet at about 7:00 a.m. on Sunday and retuned about two hours later accompanied by Gayle.

Gayle had been in St. Kitts where he was attending the funeral of the late Runako Morton, a former West Indies cricketer who died in a vehicle accident in Trinidad about two weeks ago.

But even if Gayle signs the agreement, it is unlikely that he will be available for consideration for selection until the tour of the region by New Zealand which will begin on June 28 and run until August.

The 32-year-old Gayle, who returned to Jamaica from St. Kitts on Wednesday is said to want his lawyers in Jamaica to have a look at the agreement before he signs it.

He was also expected to meet with Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller as well as former Jamaica Prime Minister P. J. Patterson to discuss the matter.

Sources told SEARCHLIGHT that even if Gayle signs, he will most likely still return to India to complete his obligations with the Indian Premier League (IPL), which runs from April 4 to May 27.

The opening batsman, who is said to not be in the best of form, will therefore miss the rest of the Australian tour which runs until April 27 and much of the English tour of the West Indies, which runs from May 5 to June 24.

Gayle turned up at the Arnos Vale Playing Field where the 2nd One Day International was being played on Sunday, to loud cheers from the Vincentian fans (see story on page 42).

Last Monday, Gayle is also said to have met with Hunte, WICB chief executive Ernest Hilaire and team coach Ottis Gibson at the Buccament Bay Resort.

Gayle has not played for the West Indies since the World Cup quarter-final against Pakistan in March 2011. He has not been considered for selection since then, because of his refusal to withdraw controversial public criticisms he made of the WICB and coach Ottis Gibson.

Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller raised the matter of the impasse at the CARICOM Inter-sessional meeting held in Suriname from March 8 to 9, 2012. Antigua Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer was asked to lead efforts to end the impasse.

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