Kingston, June 16: If you thought West Indian opener Chris Gayle was in a mood for reconciliation with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), here is some shocking news. The tall Jamaican's role as part of the Windies' team is in peril after his camp engaged in a heated exchange with board officials on Wednesday.
A big-wig of the WICB indicated that Gayle's career could well morph into that of a free-lancer, akin to the status of Australia's Andrew Symonds. Thus, Gayle could be relegated to a player who merely takes part in Twenty20 tournaments around the globe, but does not play with the team from the Caribbean any more.
The crux of the tension was that the board was hell-bent on continuing negotiations with Gayle only after he retracted disparaging statements that he made against it in a radio interview in April.
In the three-hour meeting, emotions ran high and the tension was palpable, with a WICB source claiming that Dinanath Ramnarine, the president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), actually raised his chair and threatened to assault the board CEO Ernest Hilaire.
The camp representing Gayle brushed aside the claim, merely admitting that there were verbal disagreements and that Ramnarine had got out from his chair at one point.
Gayle was joined at the meeting by Ramnarine and the WIPA vice-president Wavell Hinds, while the WICB was represented by Hilaire, the coach Ottis Gibson, the team manager Richie Richardson and the director of cricket Tony Howard.
A WIPA source said the meeting ended inconclusively with Hilaire saying he would have to speak with the WICB management and the selectors before any more action was taken.
During Gayle's infamous interview two months ago, he claimed the board had mismanaged his injury, that the coach Ottis Gibson had ruined Ramnaresh Sarwan's confidence, and the board mishandled his contract talks in Oct 2010.
Now with no resolution in sight, a large shadow of doubt has fallen on Gayle. The man who holds the record of scoring 333 in a Test against Sri Lanka earlier this year could be chucked out of the side.