Kingston: Michael Holding, the commentator and former West Indies fast bowler, has slammed the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for its treatment of senior players, including Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Jerome Taylor, none of whom is in the current Test squad in England.
Gayle has made himself available for the one-day leg of the England tour but his selection will depend on a meeting with the WICB to mop up 'residual matters' relating to their year-long spat. However, Holding wasn't convinced that the board really wants Gayle back in the team because of the lack of clarity on their stand with Gayle.
"He is available, yet the WICB are still putting out press releases saying there are residual matters to be dealt with. What residual matters? It is supposed to be cleared [up], so what residual matter is there now?" Holding told the Jamaica-based SportsMax Cable network. "People responsible for West Indies cricket do not want Chris Gayle in the team."
Gayle, a former captain, hasn't played for West Indies since the World Cup last year. His stand-off with the board began when he made critical comments against them during a radio interview. Since then he has been flourishing as a batsman in Twenty20 leagues across the world, including the IPL. He recently pulled out of his contract with Somerset to make himself available for the one-dayers in England.
Sarwan, a former captain, hasn't played for West Indies since June 2011. He said comments by the head coach Ottis Gibson broke him mentally. He is currently playing for Leicestershire in the English county season and has been in good batting form, hitting two centuries and two fifties. He said the county stint has helped him gain back his confidence, but would not turn down Leicestershire for the moment.
Holding doesn't expect to see Sarwan return to the team in this current climate even if the board wants to settle their differences.
"The man is happy," Holding said. "He is making runs, yes, and he should be in the West Indies team, but he personally is happy where he is. I don't see him leaving that now to go back to a situation where he is going to be unhappy, because he knows he's not wanted. It's the same thing with Chris Gayle."
Taylor, the fast bowler, hasn't played for West Indies since June 2010. Taylor was not named in the preliminary squad for the World Cup last year due to a back injury and the board claimed that he had not maintained his physiotherapy appointments. Taylor said the WICB had not contacted him about his back injury before he left to play in the IPL, and it only did so on April 7, 2011, once he'd arrived in India. The board said Taylor had to play a full season of first-class cricket to be considered for selection, but Holding was critical of their stance. Taylor missed the entire 2011-12 domestic season and his IPL franchise, Pune Warriors, bought out his contract.
"What sort of motivation is that for a young man like that? You rule him out for 2011, against Australia and against England that they are playing now, more than likely he won't be selected again to the team. There's no opportunity to bring him in."
In a separate interview with the Daily Mail, Holding was especially critical of Gibson. "Ottis Gibson needs to understand that the West Indies cricket team is not a boot camp. He needs to learn how to man-manage.
"I have no issue with Ottis trying to get discipline back into the team. But it is the way he has done it. As soon as someone says anything he doesn't particularly like, he doesn't want them around."