Bridgetown: Former captain Chris Gayle has been chosen by West Indies for the first time in 14 months as part of their one-day squad to tour England later this month. The 32-year-old opener, whose public spat with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) resulted in him being ineligible for nearly a year, was included in a 15-man squad announced on Monday for the three-match series that begins on June 16.
The powerful Jamaican left-hander is the most prolific West Indian century-maker in ODIs, with 19 hundreds in 228 matches since his debut in 1999. But Gayle played his last match for West Indies on March 23, 2011, the quarter-final defeat to Pakistan in the World Cup.
He was critical of the WICB in a radio interview in April 2011 after being omitted from the subsequent one-day series at home against Pakistan. Those comments, many hostile to current coach Ottis Gibson, led to his lengthy spell out of the team. Gayle instead played lucrative Twenty20 tournaments in India, Zimbabwe, Australia and Bangladesh.
Last March, a meeting between Gayle and the WICB, facilitated by CARICOM government ministers, cleared the way for his return. Last Sunday, the few residual matters in the long-running impasse were sorted out to clear the way for his return.
The squad is again led by Darren Sammy and includes a number of players who were recently playing in the Indian Premier League, which clashed with the current Test series in England. One of them, Dwayne Bravo, returns as vice captain while fellow allrounders Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Dwayne Smith also boost the squad.
Opener Lendl Simmons is chosen again after recovering from a finger injury that ruled him out of the home series against Australia in March. There was no place for Test openers Adrian Barath and Kieron Powell, who have struggled in the first two matches in the series in England.
Denesh Ramdin, the incumbent test wicketkeeper, returnes to the side at the expense of Carlton Baugh, who appeared against Australia earlier in the year.
Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Bravo (vice captain), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin (wicketkeeper), Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.