'Thanks to our own prime minister'
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Gayle says intervention key to his contribution in T20 World Cup win
Less than five months ago, Chris Gayle's participation in the 2012 International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty20 World Cup appeared unlikely, due to a dispute between himself and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
But thanks to the intervention Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, a move which triggered further intense lobbying by other of regional leaders, the former captain of the regional team was reinstated.
It turned out to be a blessing for the West Indies, which went on to win the World Cup.
Gayle emerged from the tournament, held in Sri Lanka, as the second leading run-scorer, having made 219 runs at an average of 54.75 with a strike rate of 165.90, leading the regional team to its first hold on the title and first major crown in eight years.
Being out of WI devastating
"To have been out of West Indies cricket for a year and a half was devastating for me, but that is life and we have to deal with it, and then eventually it paid off."
He added: "Thanks to our own Prime Minister Portia Simpson (Miller), who actually delivered on what she planned for, of having me back in the team," Gayle stated at a press conference hosted by Windies team sponsors Digicel, to welcome himself and teammate Marlon Samuels home, at the Norman Manley International Airport's Pineapple Lounge yesterday.
"I am very happy to be back to share this moment with my team-mates and contribute with the bat, the ball and even in the outfield."
Gayle is hopeful that the victory in the T20 World Cup will be the catalyst for West Indies cricket to move forward, and he is looking forward to being part of it.
"It is good to be back home; we enjoyed each and every moment of this T20 tournament and we are happy to be champions for the first time," Gayle shared.
"Hopefully, this is the start of many good things to come for West Indies cricket. We are very happy to be champions and, hopefully, this is the start of a new beginning for West Indies cricket," he added.
Gayle's time out of cricket was due to criticism he levelled against the WICB, coach Ottis Gibson and captain Darren Sammy. With all parties still very much involved, Gayle pointed out that there is still room for improvement, but the team was able to work together.
"I am a true professional, so I keep it real and what I was there to do I did it," Gayle said. "It was business, just one aim, one objective, which we accomplished.
"Whatever input I could share off the field or on the field, which I did, they put into good use and at the end of the day it worked and everybody came home really happy and proud," he added.
Gayle, who is ranked second on the ICC T20 batting list behind New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, has his sights set on claiming the top spot.
"I am looking forward to it and it is something I will definitely push for."