MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former West Indies captain Chris Gayle is hopeful he can return to test cricket next year but said he was simply not fit enough to take part in the ongoing series against Australia.
The explosive opener arrived in Australia to play in the domestic Twenty20 Big Bash League a few days after the struggling West Indies team were beaten by an innings and 212 runs in the first test in Hobart.
That Gayle and other leading West Indies players such as Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Andre Russell and Samuel Badree are playing Twenty20 while West Indies’ test reputation is taking such a battering is a matter of some controversy Down Under.
“Gayle Farce, the Windies saviour flies in … to grab our Big Bash cash,” read the backpage headline on Sydney’s popular Daily Telegraph newspaper on Tuesday.
Gayle, who scored the last of his 7,214 test runs for West Indies against Bangladesh in September 2014, said his recent back injury meant it was too early for him to be playing the longest form of the game.
“There’s no way I could have actually been part of that test team, I’m just coming back from injury,” the 36-year-old, who made his comeback from injury in Bangladesh’s Twenty20 league, told reporters in Melbourne.
“I haven’t retired from the game. Next year hopefully test cricket is on the agenda.
“I haven’t batted for such a long time. I scored 92 in a game and the next day felt like I’d been hit by a bus,” he added. “The body will actually take time to build up gradually.”
Gayle said it would take time for the inexperienced West Indies squad led by Jason Holder to find their feet in test cricket but he hoped they might spring a surprise in the last two tests of the series in Melbourne and Sydney.
“It won’t happen overnight,” he said.
“It kind of reminded me how we used to be dominant against Australia and it’s vice versa now. Fingers crossed they can actually turn the tables.”
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Sudipto Ganguly)