Gayle chooses country over county

Club vs Nation: Ends Somerset contract in a bid to make ODI return

Written by Associated Press | Bridgetown | Published: May 4, 2012 1:34 am

Former West Indies captain Chris Gayle cleared the way to return to the team for the one-day international series in England by pulling out of his contract with English county Somerset on Thursday. The 32-year-old Gayle has not represented West Indies since the 2011 World Cup,his career stalling after he refused to apologise for critical comments about the board and coach Ottis Gibson in a radio interview last year.

“I made it clear to them (Somerset) that my decision was made because of my commitment to West Indies cricket and to West Indies cricket fans,’’ Gayle said in a statement. Last month,the CARICOM Prime Ministerial Subcommittee on Cricket helped broker a deal in which both Gayle and the West Indies Cricket Board acknowledged indiscretions in the impasse. That paved the way for his return after he had fulfilled his contract with the RCB in the IPL,which concludes on May 27.

But further questions arose this week,with one Caribbean newspaper reporting that Gayle had sought assurances he would be selected before he would cancel his Somerset contract. The WICB reportedly stated that it couldn’t guarantee him selection,but Gayle has now put the onus back on the board.

“I believe that it is time for the WICB to make a decision which will provide a clearer view of my own future,” Gayle said. “I understand that by making this decision it may place me in a position of considerable risk,since I am foregoing a signed contract without any guarantees whatsoever,with only the hope that I will be selected to play for the West Indies again.

“I have now satisfied all of the requests of the WICB and their selection panel.” West Indies’ three-match ODI series in England begins on June 16.

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