Hard hitting opening batsman Chris Gayle has turned down the opportunity to represent the regional side in next month’s One Day International (ODI) series against India.
The 40-year-old Jamaican has opted instead to take a break for the remainder of 2019 to “recharge” and “reflect” on the future of his career.
However, he has maintained that this does not signal the end of his career and that he plans to return to cricket in 2020.
In a recent interview, Gayle said the West Indies’ selection panel headed by Roger Harper contacted him to find out if he was available for the upcoming tour, but he declined.
It is expected that the squads for the India series comprising three T20s and three ODIs, have been finalised and will likely be announced this week by Cricket West Indies (CWI).
“West Indies called me to play ODIs, but I am not going to play. They (selectors) want me to play with the youngsters but for this year I am going to take a break,” Gayle said.
“I’m going to recharge my batteries and think ahead in life and try and plan it better and keep the people who are more real around you.
“They’re a lot of things I am going to analyse. You never stop learning, doesn’t matter how long I have been playing. They’re a lot of things for me to give back. 2020 is just around the corner [and] I will use now and next month to reflect on what I really want for 2020,” Gayle, who is the Windies’ highest ODI run scorer said.
Gayle, who turned 40 in September, last played for West Indies in the home ODI series against India in August.
His next opportunity to represent the West Indies will be the home series against Ireland in January comprising three ODIs and three T20Is.
The former West Indies captain revealed he would also miss the Big Bash as well as the Bangladesh Premier League during this time of reflection.
“I am not going to the Big Bash. I’m not sure what cricket will come up, I don’t even know how my name reached the BPL, but I have been drafted in a team and I don’t even know how that happened.”
It is not clear whether Gayle is part of the Windies’ T20 World Cup plans where West Indies are the defending champions.
However, Harper’s panel and the team management comprising head coach Phil Simmons and Kieron Pollard, the ODI and T20 captain, have stressed that the door is open to all players.
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo recently at the T10 tournament, Pollard said he was excited to have Gayle around him because of the “wealth of knowledge” the Jamaican has accrued from over more than two decades of playing across formats. “You have Chris Gayle who is still playing T20 cricket around the world,” Pollard said. “He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the T20 arena, 50-over, in Test cricket, so he can share a lot of that.”
Gayle’s decision to take a break has come in the midst of a poor run of form in the Mzansi Super League, where he has turned out for defending champions Jozi Stars.
He has scored 101 runs in six innings, including 54 on Sunday in a losing effort against Tswhane Spartans. The Stars are yet to register a win.
During his latest stint with the Jozi Stars, Gayle said he was hurt by the constant scrutiny from not only the media, but also from the franchise, owners, team management, coaches and players.