West Indies batsman Chris Gayle announced on Sunday that he will retire from ODI format after the 2019 World Cup. In a tweet, the Windies Cricket Board said: “WINDIES batsman Chris Gayle has announced he will retire from One-day Internationals following the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 England & Wales.”
“You’re looking at a great man,” he said at Kensington Oval on Sunday. “I’m the greatest player in the world. Of course I’m still the Universe Boss. That will never change. I’ll take that to the grave. I’m looking to draw the line after the World Cup.”
“Or should I say cut the string? Definitely, in 50-over cricket, the World Cup is the end for me. I’ll let the youngsters have some fun and I can sit back in the party stand and watch them have some fun.”
Gayle will continue to play on the T20 franchise circuit and hopes to be picked for The Hundred, England Cricket Board’s new competition, when it begins in 2020.
The announcement came just a day after the left-handed batsman was recalled for the upcoming one-day series against England. Gayle last appeared for the West Indies’ ODI side in July 2018 against Bangladesh, having missed tours to India and Bangladesh to play in the Afghanistan Premier League and the T10 League.
BREAKING NEWS – WINDIES batsman Chris Gayle has announced he will retire from One-day Internationals following the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 England & Wales. (More to come) #MenInMaroon #ItsOurGame pic.twitter.com/AXnS4umHw2
— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) 17 February 2019
Despite his recent form, the explosive batsman remained in West Indies’ plans for the World Cup, which is set to start from May 30, 2019. The 39-year-old is expected to form the opening pair with Evin Lewis.
“I’m in good condition,” he said. “The body is feeling good and I’m pleased with that. I’ve lost a bit of weight and I don’t want to get too big. I’m still working on my six pack. I’m trying to keep up with the youngsters in the field who are like cats the way they chase the ball. I still have it in me and I’m still enjoying it.
“I don’t know who is opening the bowling for England, but any bowler is going to beware of Chris Gayle. That doesn’t change because he is 39 now, they are going to be saying ‘yes, he’s got some grey hairs in his beard, let’s get him now, this is the perfect time to get the universe boss now he is 39.’
“Being back in West Indies colours is the most important thing. I’m actually looking to go forward with the Windies. I’ll be bringing some experience to play and sharing that with the youngsters and I hope to enjoy the next couple of months with the West Indies cricket team.
“This series against England might be the last time people get to see the Universe Boss on local soil. The last game I played in Barbados for Jamaica I got a hundred and it would be nice to continue where I left off and entertain the home fans as much as possible. At the end of the day everybody should be happy and enjoy the game.”
Gayle, who remains the Windies’ second-leading ODI run scorer, has scored the most centuries (23) by a West Indian in the ODI format. He sits behind legendary Brian Lara on matches played and runs scored and could surpass him by the time the 39-year-old retires. Gayle has played 284 games to Lara’s 299, and scored 9727 runs to Lara’s 10,405.
In his 19 year long career, Gayle has played 284 ODIs, in which he has scored 9,727 runs at an average of 37.12. His glittering resume includes 49 fifties and 23 centuries at a strike rate of 85.52.
Gayle is the only Windies player to get a double ton and the first ever to score at a World Cup. He scored 215 runs in 147 balls against Zimbabwe in an ODI in 2015. In the course of that performance, he and Marlon Samuels also broke the record of the highest ODI partnership, putting together 372 runs for the second wicket.
Gayle hopes his fifth World Cup appearance will be the perfect ending to a stellar ODI career. “Winning the World Cup would be a fairy-tale finish,” he said. “The youngsters owe it to me to win. They have to do that for me and try and get me the trophy. I’ll be looking to put my input in as well.”