Gayle backtracks on ODI retirement, available for India series

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Gayle out of ODI retirement? © Getty

Chris Gayle has made himself available for the upcoming ODI series against India, in addition to one of the Tests that will be played as a part of the inaugural World Test Championship. Notably, Gayle had announced in February this year that the 2019 World Cup will be his last ODI assignment.

Asked about his post World Cup plans in Manchester, ahead of the league match against India, Gayle said: “Maybe a Test match against India and then I’ll play, definitely play the ODIs against India. I won’t play the T20s. That’s my plan after World Cup.”

Earlier this year, Gayle had sung a different tune. “In 50 over cricket, definitely the World Cup is the end,” he had said. “I’m looking to draw the line there or should I say cut the string, let the youngsters have some fun and I can sit back in the party stand and watch them have some fun.”

Interestingly, Gayle also spoke about his intent to play in a Test match against India, which could be his swansong from the format. He’s so far featured in over 100 Tests but last played a Test for the West Indies way back in September 2014, against Bangladesh in his hometown Jamaica. A number of factors, including his troubled back, has kept him away from the format as he continues to play in the T20 leagues around the world. Overall in Tests, he tallies over 7000 runs at an average of over 42 in his 103 Tests.

Gayle, now 39, has a handful of World Cup matches left. And even if he decides to retire after the home ODI series against India, there’s not too many matches to go. “In these three games, I’d love to get a hundred as well. But if it doesn’t happen, I can’t actually complain or be too hard on myself. I’ve actually achieved a lot,” Gayle reflected back.

Looking back on his career, which started way back in 1999 with an ODI against India, Gayle said that he “could not have had a better career as a player representing the West Indies.”

“I’m definitely up there with the greats without a doubt. Like I say, I enjoy each and every moment of West Indies, playing for West Indies,” Gayle said. “It’s been a lot of ups and downs. I’ve got to say I really enjoy each and every moment. But we share some quality moments with some quality players as well. I started my career with the likes of Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, you watch them on TV and you realize they’re in the dressing room, it’s just a bunch of guys. And Brian Lara, the first captain as well, Carl Hooper. So it’s some quality moments when you look back on it.”

So what are the most memorable moments of his career? “Two triple centuries in Test cricket. Those two will definitely be on top. A double century in the World Cup as well,” he said.

Gayle also talked about brighter times for West Indies cricket, given the kind of talent that it boasts of now. “Definitely the future is bright for West Indies cricket, without a doubt. The likes of Nicholas Pooran and Hetmyer, his name has been calling in all forms of the game so far,” Gayle said. “For these guys to actually believe and build on these things. And the cricket, they can learn as a youngster. Trust me, it will be much, much better for them within their career going forward.

“But Pooran, his work ethic — I must commend Pooran’s work ethic. It’s fantastic for a youngster to actually just come into the team. And he’s going to be a world record beater, [knocking on the wood]. Nicholas Pooran is going to be a savage youngster, trust me on that one. And like I said, Bravo has been around for some time.

And Shai Hope as well. Definitely have a big part to play in West Indies cricket. He’s a guy who actually may be a future captain as well. So he’s got a start, I think, going down that line as well. So it’s something everyone has to rely on each other, to be honest with you.”

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