Gayle eyes India ODIs and possible Test return
The West Indies hitter has not played a five-day game since 2014.
West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has apparently backtracked on plans to retire from one-day cricket after the World Cup, as well as declaring himself open to a first Test appearance in five years.
Earlier this year the 39-year-old declared he would end his 50-over career after the tournament but, speaking ahead of Thursday’s clash against India, the self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’ penned a new script.
In the same breath as ruling himself out of August’s Twenty20 double-header against India in Florida, he seemed to set his sights on the subsequent ODI series and – most improbably – a 104th Test cap.
Asked what lay ahead, he 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.
“I still have a few games to go, maybe another series to go, who knows? We’ll see what happens.”
Whether the national selectors see things the same way as Gayle is not known, and there is every chance the man himself is making it up as he goes along. While he retains the customary hitting power that has brought more than 19,000 international runs his mobility around the park has been a concern for some time.
The idea of him performing throughout a five-day match for the first time since September 2014 seems fanciful, but with the second Test taking place on his home island of Jamaica he perhaps views that as a fitting farewell for his two-decade international career.
His appearance in front of the gathered media at Old Trafford was less about the intricacies of the fixture ahead and more of a reflection on the life and times of one of the sport’s most colourful characters.
“In these next three games, I’d love to get a hundred,” he said.
“But if it doesn’t happen, I can’t actually complain or be too hard on myself. I’ve actually achieved a lot.
“I’m definitely up there with the greats without a doubt. I enjoy each and every moment playing for West Indies.
“It’s been a lot of ups and downs. But I could not have had a better career as a player representing the West Indies.”
Gayle was invited to nominate a successor to act as a “mini Universe Boss” in the future and though he was reticent to share the mantle, he had fond words for some of his team-mates.
“Mini Universe Boss? That’s a serious name. But definitely the future is bright for West Indies cricket, without a doubt,” he said.
“Nicholas Pooran is going to be a savage youngster, trust me on that one. (Shimron) Hetmyer: his name has been calling in all forms of the game so far.
“Carlos (Brathwaite) actually came of age and produced such a good innings, got his first ODI 100 (against New Zealand) as well, so that’s fantastic.
“Trust me, it will be much, much better for them within their career going forward.”