Chris Gayle has pulled out of his Twenty20 contract with Somerset, declaring himself committed to playing for West Indies in all forms of the game. The move could smooth the way for Gayle to return to the West Indies side for the upcoming tour of England, which would end a year-long standoff between Gayle and the WICB that stemmed from comments he made about the board in a radio interview last April. (Also see: Gayle must get used to 'hardworking culture', warns Sammy)
Gayle was not chosen in the Test squad for the England tour but after progress was made in reaching a resolution between the two parties, he was considered to have a chance to be selected for the three ODIs that follow the Tests. However, those matches clash with the Friends Life t20, a tournament for which Gayle had agreed to play with Somerset, and the WICB chief executive Ernest Hilaire said Gayle could not be considered unless he categorically made himself available.
"I wish to advise that as of today, May 2nd, 2012, 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 Life t20]. 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," Gayle said in a statement.
"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. I have now satisfied all of the requests of the WICB and their selection panel, with whom I met via teleconference yesterday, and to whom I reiterated previous assurances given to the board regarding my availability.
"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. 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. I look forward to once again putting on the maroon, and resuming my international career and my service to West Indies cricket."
Gayle has not played for West Indies since the 2011 World Cup, but he has been in outstanding form in the IPL. He is third on the tournament's run tally and has scored 81, 87, 4, 86 and 71 from his past five innings.