West Indies cricket coach Stuart Law has defended out-of-form batsman Chris Gayle, saying critics who suggest his international career may be over “write him off at your peril.” The 38-year-old Gayle scored only 38 runs in four innings on the West Indies’ disastrous tour to New Zealand which ended Wednesday with a 119-run loss in the third Twenty20 international.
The tourists lost the two-match test series 2-0, the three-match one-day series 3-0 and the Twenty20 2-0 with one match washed out. Gayle missed one of the one-day matches with a reported virus. He was out for a duck in his latest innings on Wednesday, throwing up his gloves to defend himself against a short-pitched ball from Tim Southee. Gayle came to New Zealand immediately after scoring 146 from 69 balls for the Rangpur Riders in the final of the Bangladesh Premier League.
His subsequent performances in New Zealand led to speculation he may soon retire from international cricket to continue his career in more lucrative professional leagues. But Law said Gayle still has much to offer the West Indies. “Right now it probably doesn’t look like it, but there’s plenty of cricket left in the big man,” Law said. “He can destroy any attack. He’s central to the way this dressing room ticks and commands a lot of respect. He’s just got to start performing in the middle again. He didn’t click in this series.”
Law said the West Indies’ form in New Zealand was disappointing but was due in part to the absence of a number of senior players who were key contributors to the team’s win in the World T20 two years ago. “It was a pretty disappointing tour,” Law said. “We need to do a lot of hard work, planning and understanding. That means some soul-searching …”