Millennium Post

Gibson, Sammy delighted with Gayle availability

West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson and captain Darren Sammy have warmly greeted talismanic opener Chris Gayle's decision to make himself available for the limited-overs leg of the West Indies tour of England and all future engagements.

Gayle, who has not played for the Caribbean side in over a year because of a spat with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), announced Wednesday that he was pulling out of his Somerset Twenty20 contract to make himself available for selection for the three One-Day Internationals and T20, starting here next month.

'It's great to hear that Chris is available again. I'm sure the selectors will pick him, because he's world-class,' Gibson said here on Thursday, a day after the tourists arrived in the country for their three-Test tour.

'If he's made himself available for the one-day series, I can't see him not being selected.'

Gayle's participation in the tour remained in doubt earlier this week after negotiations with the WICB seemed to break down yet again.

The Board accused the 32-year-old Jamaican of reneging on his commitment to fore go the Somerset deal, after he wrote to them asking for a guarantee on his selection before turning down the English County.

However, in a statement issued through the West Indies Players Association, Gayle said he had turned down Somerset and was now free to represent the West Indies 'in all forms of cricket'.

Sammy, who took over from Gayle as captain two years ago, said he expected Gayle to make a seamless re-entry into the team once he was selected.

'It will be very easy. He's the best one-day batsman in the world. So I don't think it will be a problem at all,' the all-rounder said.

'He plays very well, going into many different dressing rooms all around the world and making runs. I don't think coming into ours will be any different.'

He said once Gayle returns, he is expected to share in the new team attitude and give his all in helping in the side's success.

Gayle's move follows a Tuesday teleconference meeting with WICB officials and selectors to discuss his future.

'I have now satisfied all of the requests of the WICB and their selection panel, with whom I met via teleconference, and I reiterated previous assurances given to the Board regarding my availability,' Gayle said.

'So that there is no doubt, I confirmed to the selectors that I was available for West Indies duty in all forms of cricket, immediately following the conclusion of my contractual obligations to my IPL franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore.'

The IPL finishes on 28th May while the limited overs series in England is from 16-24th June, and includes three One-Day Internationals and one T20 International.

'I have written to Somerset CC and advised them that I will not be honouring the commitment I made to them when I signed a contract with them for the 2012 Friends Provident Championship,' Gayle said.

'I made it clear to them that my decision was made because of my commitment to West Indies cricket and to West Indies cricket fans, and because I believe that it is time for the WICB to make a decision which will provide a clearer view of my own future.'

He added: '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.'

In his absence from West Indies duty, Gayle has kept himself busy playing in the various T20 leagues on the international circuit, turning out in the Zimbabwe domestic championship, Australia's Big Bash, the Bangladesh Premier League, South Africa's T20 tournament and the IPL.

He is currently the leading run-getter in the IPL with 407 runs and has mustered four half-centuries in his last five innings.

Gayle said he was now looking forward to returning to the West Indies side.

'This has been a difficult time, and I wish to sincerely thank everyone who has supported me, my family and friends, and in particular cricket fans worldwide who have continued to show appreciation for me wherever I have played,' he said.

'I look forward to once again putting on the maroon, and resuming my international career and my service to West Indies cricket.'

Gayle has been West Indies' most successful opener in the last decade. He has accumulated 6373 runs in 91 Tests at an average of 41 and scored 8087 runs from 228 ODIs at an average of 39.

He is one of just four players in history to score two Test triple centuries in a career.

Following the England tour, West Indies return to the Caribbean to face New Zealand in two Tests and five ODIs from 30th June to 6th August.
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