|Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Chris Gayle plays a shot during the IPL Twenty20 cricket match between the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Gayle's rift with the West Indies cricket board has lasted more than a year now.
The West Indies dominated world cricket for some two decades, but in the last four years it has kept grabbing the headlines for all of the wrong reasons, thanks to a dysfunctional board.
In fact, the on-going rift between the board and its star player Chris Gayle that began a little over a year ago has made it the laughing stock of the game. In an interview with a Jamaican radio station following last April’s World Cup, Gayle rubbed the authorities the wrong way by calling the board “incompetent” after the senior players were criticized for the country’s early elimination from the tournament.
Gayle was asked to retract his statement if he wanted to be considered for selection again, but the star batsman refused. The only losers in this spat have been the loyal and dedicated West Indies fans who love their cricket as much as Canadians love their hockey.
Today all of the West Indies will be awaiting word from St. Vincent where the batsman will meet with the board to end this childish impasse. And this is no ordinary meeting as those around the table will include Antigua’s Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.
Gayle has already made his intentions clear he wants back on the team by opting out of his Twenty20 contract with English county Somerset. After initially threatening to sue Gayle for breach of contract, the team withdrew its threat to allow him a chance to revive his international career.
With the presence of two prime ministers there is hope that the board will allow Gayle to join the national team in time for the third Test to be played later this week. The Windies’ top order has been a disaster and needs a batsman of Gayle’s calibre to steady the listing ship that has lost the first two Tests. Meanwhile, West Indies have recalled spinner Sunil Narine for the third Test. Narine opted for the IPL where he was one of the stars, after he was surprisingly not picked by the West Indies for the England tour.
AUSSIES THREATEN STRIKE
Pay us what we are worth or we sit out the tour of England in July. That’s the warning the Australian cricketers sent out to its board Saturday.
According to Sydney-based newspaper, The Australian, “Relationships between players and management are heated and threatening to become as ugly as the stand-off surrounding the first player contract negotiations during Mark Taylor’s captaincy (1994-1999).’’
Apparently Cricket Australia is playing hardball in negotiations and frozen all contract talks and threatened to fine the players $48,400 US if they do not sign the contract handed to them by the end of June. An interesting standoff is in the works.
Kevin Pietersen, by far England’s top batsman and also one of the world’s best in one-day and Twenty20 cricket, dropped a bombshell by turning his back on the shorter formats of the game. The timing of his announcement — a few months ahead of September’s Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka — took the England board by total surprise.
Pietersen has had a stormy relationship with the board since 2009 after a rift with then coach Peter Moores resulting in him losing his captaincy. Last week the board fined him about $4,000 after a Tweet criticizing Sky TV commentator Nick Knight and that may have been the final straw. The good news for England is that Pietersen will continue playing Tests.
KOLKATA RULES IPL
Shah Rukh Khan, India’s biggest film star, now owns the country’s finest cricket team after his Kolkata Knight Riders captured the Indian Premier League by denying Chennai Super Kings their third straight crown.
That brought down the curtain on the IPL’s fifth season which was once again a roaring success. The stadiums were packed to capacity and the entertainment value was second to none. There were some spectacular run chases and the fact every overseas player wants to play in this lucrative eight-week Twenty20 extravaganza speaks for itself. The IPL is appraised in excess of $2 billion and the brand is set to enjoy even more success as there appears to be a growing city-based rivalry brewing.
Royal Bangalore Challengers’ Gayle, obviously miffed with the problems with his West Indies board, took out his frustrations on his IPL opponents. He clobbered an astonishing 59 sixes in 15 matches, averaging 61.08 and a strike rate of 160.74, with one century and seven half-tons. He went to town against Delhi Daredevils scoring 128. His 62-ball knock included 13 sixes and seven fours.
According to Cricket365, the highest paid player in the IPL Ravindra Jadeja, was a $2-million bust. He ended up scoring a mere 191 runs for $10, 471 a run. He also captured 12 wickets and that worked out to $166,666 per scalp. . . . Sri Lanka bounced back from an embarrassing loss to Pakistan in all three formats of the game six months ago. In Hambantota on Friday the home team got ample revenge by hammering the visitors by 37 runs in the first of two Twenty20 matches. Sri Lanka made 132 with Thisara Pereramaking 32 off 16 balls. Pakistan was dismissed for 95. The teams meet in the second match today.
RYDER RULED OUT
One of New Zealand’s finest all-rounders, Jesse Ryder, is on the outside looking in after the country’s board decided not to offer him a contract for 2012. Ryder has himself to blame after several alcohol-fuelled incidents, including one in March of this year. The 27-year-old enjoyed a good season in the IPL scoring 256 runs in 11 innings for Pune but that wasn’t enough to change the minds of those on the board ... But there was some good news for former Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful who has been recalled by the national team for the tri-series Twenty20 tournament in Zimbabwe later this month. Also recalled to the squad to face Zimbabwe and South Africa is batsman Zunaed Siddique ... Faf du Plessis also had reason to celebrate after South Africa recalled him for the same series. Du Plessis’s inclusion comes as no surprise as he had an outstanding season in the IPL with the Chennai Super Kings. Johan Botha will lead South Africa in the absence of AB de Villiers who is being rested along with Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel who all played in the IPL. Former Pakistan coach Richard Pybus will make his debut as Bangladesh’s national coach in this tournament.