St. John's (Antigua): The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) broke their silence on Chris Gayle's pending return to the regional team, saying they were "pleased" the estranged batsman had made himself available to play. Gayle announced last week he would pull out of his contract with English county Somerset in order to make himself available for the limited overs phase of West Indies' tour of England, and in "all forms of cricket" in the future.
"Directors of the West Indies Cricket Board recently met by teleconference and are pleased that consistent with his previous commitment Mr. Chris Gayle has made himself available for selection to the West Indies team," a WICB statement said. "The Board believes that Mr. Gayle's stated commitment to West Indies cricket will be an asset to the team and looks forward to his contributions in that regard."
The WICB said it also looked forward to meeting with Gayle, Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, who is chairman of CARICOM's Prime Ministerial Sub-committee on cricket, along with St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, to resolve "residual matters" before the Jamaican's actual return to the team.
Among these "residual matters" is expected be Gayle's role in a multi-million dollar West Indies Players Association lawsuit against the WICB, relating to the issuing of No Objection Certificates. In correspondence to Gayle last month, the WICB raised concerns about the lawsuit and Gayle's continued participation in the litigation process.
At the time, Gayle said he could not "possibly contemplate withdrawing unilaterally from proceedings", contending that such a move would affect all West Indies players. The 32-year-old left-hander has not played for West Indies in over a year following a dispute with the WICB, arising from a controversial interview he gave to a Jamaican radio station in the wake of last year's World Cup. Since then, Gayle has plied his trade in the myriad of Twenty20 leagues on the international circuit and is currently campaigning in the Indian Premier League for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Gayle says he will be available for selection once the tournament finishes May 27.