Mystery is surrounding crowd-pleasing West Indies opener Chris Gayle after he failed to appear during the second innings of the opening One-Day International against New Zealand at Cobham Oval yesterday.
The electric left-hander had made 22 in the West Indies innings of 248 for nine, and looked to be finding his range after a slow start, before being dismissed by Doug Bracewell’s first ball in international cricket for 15 months.
Jamaican Gayle never took the field as the Black Caps comfortably chased down their target with 24 balls remaining, to win by five wickets and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Head coach Stuart Law said afterwards that Gayle had felt ill and would be consulting doctors when the teams arrived in Christchurch on Thursday.
“He took ill,” Law said.
“He’s going to seek further medical advice once we arrive in Christchurch tomorrow. At this point in time I can’t give you any further details of what’s going on.”
He added: “I’m not a doctor. I can’t give you any more, so I apologise. We should get a full appraisal tomorrow. He just felt ill.”
The 38-year-old Gayle put on 40 with top-scorer Evin Lewis (76) before becoming the first casualty of the Windies innings.
An influential figure in West Indies cricket, Gayle only returned to the ODI set-up last September for the series against England, following a 2-1/2 year break.
He is a pivotal member of the current squad and the Caribbean side have pinned much of their hopes on the international star, as they look to get a positive result in the series.
A Twenty20 specialist in recent years, Gayle is coming off heavy scoring during the recent Bangladesh Premier League where he lashed two unbeaten hundreds – including one in the final – en route to an aggregate of nearly 500 runs, as he lifted Rangpur Riders to the title.
West Indies face New Zealand in the second ODI at Hagley Oval on Saturday with the final game of the series set for Boxing Day.
Gayle is the most experienced member of the touring squad with 9416 runs from 274 ODIs.