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Take it for its worth


The agreement between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and former West Indies captain, Christopher Henry Gayle, must be taken in the light that both entities have acknowledged the need to end the standoff.{{more}}

This matter has made the headlines for almost a year, beginning with verbal sparring last year April, after Gayle’s outburst on KLASS radio in Jamaica. During his outburst, he spared nothing in lambasting the WICB, its CEO Dr. Ernest Hilaire and the team coach Otis Gibson.

Gayle, while wrong with the choice of forum, was really reacting to previous comments made by Gibson at the conclusion of the World Cup, when he laid blame for the team’s lack of success on the senior players, in which Gayle was heaped.

But all is supposedly well that seemed to have ended well, as both parties admitted regret and responsibility for their respective actions.

It was politically prudent for the formal reconciliation exercise to be registered here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but the bow has not been tied as yet for the final package to be presented to the regional fans, who have been anxiously awaiting the messy affair’s resolution.

The return of Gayle, the good scripter of the drama series, as his appendices suggest, will be conditional on certain residual issues.

This is Gayle’s usual mode of operation in which he balks at every opportunity to dodge the issues to get his wishes.

A showman by nature, his decision to hold aloft a placard stating “Apologise for What”, at the Arnos Vale Playing Field during the second One Day international on Sunday, March 18, irrespective of its interpretation, was in poor taste.

Gayle knows how to play on people’s sentiments, and uses his aura to good advantage.

So with the door almost open wide for Gayle to play his part again, is he ready for the undertaking and the demands of the new configuration of the team?

Will he want to go through the rigours of the fitness regiment as is being prescribed?

As it now obtains, the current team under Gibson is beginning to show grit and a team spirit, for which West Indians fans have been yearning, for the past decade and a half.

It is not to say that the team or West Indies Cricket has started to turn corners, but if this approach is to be sustained for an extended period, then the steering will certainly charge direction.

Gayle’s talent with the bat is unquestionable, as he has the ability to tear into any bowling attack, be it pace or spin and can add to the team’s cause, especially at the top of the order.

His records speaks for themselves, and in the present team, he is only bettered by the warhorse, Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Gayle has an aggregate of 6373 runs, with a highest score of 333, at an average of 41.65, secured from 91 test matches.

In the limited overs format, Gayle appeared in 228 One Day Internationals, recording 8087 runs at an average of 39.06.

But what he brings otherwise is what is of greatest concern.

Overtime, Gayle has developed a status with West Indies and world Cricket and has been able to weave his influences on the younger and more vulnerable players. In some quarters, he is seen as a ring leader and not a captain or leader or positive role model in the regional Cricket set up.

Could Gayle and Gibson co-exist in the team as true professionals? Could they deny the local saying that “two man rat cannot live in one hole”?

Also, can Gayle be comfortable in the team, with Hillarie still calling the shots at the WICB?

Will the WICB make a trade off by forgoing Hillarie for Gayle?

Gayle is an unrepentant believer in the shorter forms of the game; the 50 overs limited matches and the artificial format of the twenty/20.

Hence, could Gayle, who says he is committed to West Indies Cricket, offer the necessary guidance to the younger batsmen who are learning their craft in building a test innings?

This column continues to hold the view that Gayle is better served plying his trade around the world, making his big bucks, and leaving West Indies Cricket to those who are willing to be statesmen.

Likewise, the WICB’s top brass must learn how to manage persons with above average abilities.