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Chris Gayle is a West Indian Champion

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Fri, Mar 16. 2012

Editor: Christopher Henry Gayle made his test debut for the West Indies Cricket Team in 2000 (he played his first ODI in 1999) after distinguishing himself with consistently good performances in the regional cricket competitions.{{more}} He is one of only three West Indian batsmen (the other two are Brian Lara and Vivian Richards) to score more than 1000 test runs in a calendar year. Mr. Gayle’s post-2007 batting average in test matches is 53.59 and he has so far accumulated 6,373 runs (a Jamaican record) from 91 matches in this form of the game. Gayle, in 2005, became the first batsman to ever score a triple century against South Africa. He later scored a brilliant 333 against Sri Lanka and thereby became the first West Indian to score a triple century outside the West Indies and joined Donald Bradman, Virender Sewag and Brian Lara as the only players with two scores of 300+ in tests.

We also remember Gayle’s fighting knock of 197 against New Zealand-which many consider to be his best test match innings-that steered his team away from what seemed to be imminent defeat; and the 6 consecutive fours he hit in a Matthew Hoggard over on his way to 105 at The Oval. Chris Gayle is one of only six players in ODI history to have 3 or more scores of 150+ and has a total of 19 centuries (a West Indian record that he shares with Brian Lara) in ODI cricket. Gayle was named Player of the 2006 Champions Trophy competition-in which he played eight matches, scored 474 runs (with three centuries) and took eight wickets-and had previously earned selection to the ICC World XI Cricket team.

Mr. Gayle has an extraordinary record in Twenty20 cricket. He scored the first century in a Twenty20 International and has the highest individual score in that version of cricket. He has the most runs, highest average, highest strike rate, most hundreds, most fifties, most sixes and most fours in Twenty20 games played between January 2011 and January 2012.

It is therefore reprehensible that such a valuable cricketer is being sidelined, for no good reason, by an unjust West Indies Cricket Board. Otis Gibson, by his tactless, insensitive and public criticism of senior West Indian players and his ill-considered selection decisions thereafter-and not the subsequent interview by Chris Gayle on Jamaican radio-triggered the current impasse. The problem was aggravated when Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, a member of the WICB, who may have conveyed the sentiments of WICB president Julian Hunte and WICB chief executive Ernest Hilaire, called Chris Gayle-in the aftermath of the Dudus fiasco-a West Indies Cricket “Don” that should be uprooted.

Chris Gayle joined the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2011 IPL after he was inexplicably dropped from the West Indies team. The suggestion that he was left out by the team’s management so that he could recover from an injury, and that he abandoned West Indies cricket for the riches of the IPL, is hogwash. By the way, Chris Gayle was not the first-and would not be the last-West Indian to have been involved in contractual disputes with the West Indies Cricket authorities. Frank Worrell refused to tour India in 1948 as he protested for better contractual terms.

Chris Gayle has excelled in all forms of the game and is regarded as one of the greatest hitters of all time. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the West Indies, should condemn the WICB for its oppressive treatment of a West Indian champion.

R. T. Luke V. Browne

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