Chris Gayle is not retiring from any form of the game, but a recurring back injury will keep him out of West Indies’ upcoming home Test series against England.
“Definitely want to play the T20 World Cup next year for West Indies, there’s no doubt about that,” Gayle told ESPNcricinfo. “I’ve got a few concerns and a few injury [cases] to try and solve. I’ll give myself some time and hopefully look back at it and see how well I can actually progress for West Indies cricket at this point in time.
“I’m actually out of the Test series, the back won’t hold up for that format at this point in time. But I haven’t retired from any format as yet. As I go on I will keep informing WICB about my progress in the future with West Indies cricket.”
West Indies were knocked out of the World Cup on Saturday after losing their quarter-final against New Zealand by 143 runs. Gayle made a 33-ball 61 in an attempt to keep West Indies in touch with the asking rate in a chase of 394. Gayle said he suffered a groin strain during the game, but his back didn’t trouble him too much.
“[The back] actually held up well, to be honest with you, in the outfield for 50 overs and then opening the batting,” he said. “It wasn’t too bad, slight scare again with a niggle in the groin, so all that was happening, and you have to take the conditions into consideration, it was a bit cold and you’re feeling some pain.”
West Indies lost to Ireland in their opening match of the World Cup, and went through an up-and-down ride that eventually carried them into the quarter-finals. Gayle felt West Indies had played good cricket and were a ‘good all-round team’, even though they missed Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard – whose omissions he had spoken out against before the tournament.
“I thought we played some great cricket,” Gayle said. “Yes we missed [Bravo and Pollard], but I thought we did well. We had a good all-round team, and the guys played some crucial innings for us.
“It was a situation where you look at it, we reached a quarterfinal, anything could have happened, you just need two good games. You chase 390 runs, psychologically it will affect your batters, but if we actually had a better plan or structure chasing these sort of targets, it could have helped us in some sort of way.
“[We were bowled out for] 250 with 19 overs to go, that goes to tell how dangerous we can be, but just to get the mindset right and get a hold of everything and the players to actually believe we can make these things happen.”
The WICB appointed Jason Holder, the 23-year-old allrounder, as West Indies’ ODI captain months before the World Cup. Asked how he rated Holder’s captaincy, Gayle said he had room to improve but wished him well, and hoped he would hold the team together in the future.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Gayle said. “There’s no doubt about it. Nothing wrong with a young captain, but goes to show [how] inexperience can play a big part in this sort of tournament. Can Jason actually grow from this, get more structure behind him and more support in this area? Then hopefully he can build on this and use this as a learning experience.
“It’s never going to be easy, coming here and captaining in a World Cup for the first time, it’s always going to be a mind factor and lot of pressure is going to be there on a youngster like that, but in the future, I wish him well, hopefully he can use this as a learning experience, and can get better. Just keep your players together and just hold them and stick with them.”
Gayle looked forward to working with Phil Simmons, who will take over as West Indies’ coach after the World Cup. Simmons, the former West Indies allrounder, has just ended an eight-year stint with the Ireland team.
“I know Phil from a personal point of view, I know him well,” Gayle said. “He’s a good man, he has done well with Ireland and he’s one of us as well, so there’s no doubt about it. We know how we can actually become a stronger unit.
“I didn’t know he was appointed, so that’s news to me at this point in time, so I wish him all the best and hopefully he’ll have a successful coaching career with West Indies and can uplift West Indies cricket and take us further in international cricket and help the Regional [Tournament] as well.”
In West Indies’ group match against Zimbabwe, Gayle made 215, the first double-century in World Cup cricket. In Saturday’s quarterfinal, Martin Guptill bettered his effort and smashed an unbeaten 237. Gayle was one of the first West Indies players to congratulate Guptill when he went past 200.
“Yeah, fantastic,” Gayle said. “[Guptill] batted well, we know his capability. It was a good wicket out there, it was a belter out there, small ground, small boundary, but we can’t take anything away from the fact that he batted superbly. He set up his innings fantastically. Congrats to him on getting the double century, 237 I think, I wish him all the best furthermore in his career, and he’s a wonderful player as well.” (ESPNcricinfo)