We were under the impression that Gayle was unfit: WICB chief


Port of Spain : West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) chief Ernest Hilaire has said that former captain Chris Gayle was dropped from the squad as the board was under the impression that the explosive opener was not fully fit to feature in the first two One-day Internationals (ODI) against Pakistan.

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Hilaire’s clarification comes after Gayle said the board did not tell him beforehand that he will not be picked for the initial matches. Subsequently, Gayle opted to play for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).

“We told Chris (Gayle) repeatedly that as far as we are concerned you are injured, you are doing a rehabilitative programme, and that when you’re finished we want you tested and if you are available we’ll pick you to play for West Indies,” Hilaire was quoted as saying by the Line and Length Network.

“We said that If you don’t want to play we have no difficulty in giving you the NOC once you say you are not available for selection, and he said he was not available for selection and we gave him the NOC to play in the IPL,” he said.

Hilaire, reacting to the statement made by Gayle on not being picked, said WICB “tried really hard” to communicate with the seasoned player but things could not go in the right direction.

“We can dispel all that Chris (Gayle) said by releasing the letters and emails. But we should not do that. You communicate with a player, you ask for his opinions, you ask for him to account on certain statements he made, you ask him what’s his position on certain things and you expect to be treated with a certain degree of confidence.

“You expect when the coach pulls a player aside and speaks to him there is a certain level of respect for that conversation. And against that background I am not going to try to prove Chris Gayle wrong. What’s more important is to state that we are very disappointed in the way in which Chris has decided to respond. I think he is being ill-advised. We have worked exceedingly hard to reach out to Chris – numerous attempts – letters, phone calls, emails. He is being advised and he will act in the way in which he sees best.”

Gayle, however, was not the only senior member who missed the selection. Ramnaresh Sarwan and southpaw Shivnarine Chanderpaul were also overlooked by the selectors. Hilaire defended the decision of dropping the stalwarts.

“If you look at West Indies cricket since the mid-90s a lot of the systems we had in place broke down,” Hilaire said. “There’s no discipline, there’s no application. We have been doing that for 15 years and we have been losing. We need to put a new system in place. No one man is bigger than the team, no one man is such a superstar he can decide if he is training today, if he’s going to have treatment tomorrow, if he’s going to attend a team meeting. It cannot work that way.

“So the WICB does not tell the selectors who to pick, we have said to the selectors that we want a team, we don’t want the whole team to surround one or two superstars so that if the superstars fail then everything collapses. We depend on two or three people to excel for us to win and if they don’t excel we lose. We don’t want that,” he added.