Kingston, Jamaica, June 14: There's no doubting that Chris Gayle has been conspicuous by his absence in India's ongoing tour of the West Indies. After his blistering form in the Indian Premier League last month, one would have imagined that he'd be eager to carry on his superlative show of batsmanship for a patriotic cause. But the tall Jamaican doesn't seem to possess the humility to bow down to the protocol of the West Indies Cricket Board.
As Gayle does so often on the field, he appears to be playing his "own game" off it as well. He hasn't so much as contacted the board on his return from the Indian sub-continent.. leave alone, met it in person. That he has fallen out of favour with the WICB over his habit to publicly run-down the board is a very disconcerting scenario. Indeed, in the past too, he hasn't had qualms about vociferously discharging disparaging remarks against the authority.
A trip down memory lane will reveal a slew of scraps with the board. The first kerfuffle that comes to mind unfolded in 2005 when he along with a few of his team-mates refused to drop the deals with their earlier sponsors Cable and Wireless, in favour of Digicel, which had come to endorse the Caribbean side. The board hit back by dropping the uncompromising parties from the first Test against South Africa. Gayle eventually terminated his contract with C&W and was allowed back in the side.
In 2007 and 2009 again he initiated disputes with the board on account of his washing more dirty laundry in public. He also dished out another controversial stock-pile of comments, stating that "it wouldn't a a sad day" if Twenty20 usurped the significance of Test matches. Such a move invited stiff criticism from various quarters and the friction with the board thus led to his resignation as team captain.
It seems this dashing batsman's enormous strike rate and appetite for runs is matched only by the magnitude of his ego. With Windies cricket in shambles, he would do well to kiss and make up with the board. Plus, he needs to permanently quit the flak-dispensing, lest he opens up old wounds.