Chennai: Chris Gayle who has not featured in the West Indies Test team since 2014 for various reasons including the stand-off with the Board said he could play in the longer format soon. “It’s a possibility. We are in talks, so we’ll see what happens,” said Gayle, who is in the city to promote the Tamil Nadu Premier League.
Gayle, who is one of the very few players to score two triple hundreds in Test, doesn’t want to give suggestions on what would make Test cricket more meaningful in the T20 era, because his previous comments on improving the format didn’t go down well with the authorities. “I’m not the man to answer it. It’s a bit difficult to comment, the question is for the bigger authorities,” said Gayle who plays in almost all the franchisee-based league in the world.
West Indies are the champions in men’s World T20, women’s and they also hold the U-19 World Cup. But when it comes to Test cricket, the Caribbeans are a pale shadow of themselves without big names in the side. “To be successful in Tests will actually take time since it’s a rebuilding process. The youngsters in the team need to mature, gain a lot of experience and they still need a few senior players here and there to actually guide them along. The board and the players are trying to sort things out and hopefully one day it will happen and everyone will be on the same page. There have been meetings, effort and progress to get everything on track for West Indies cricket,” he added.
Talking about the disparity in quality between the West Indies’ T20 and Test sides, Gayle said: “In both formats of the game we struggle to concentrate for long periods of time. This has been the case since I made my debut under the captaincy of Brian Lara. We only play cricket in short sessions and then we switch off, so that’s how we tend to lose a lot of Test matches. In the shorter format of the game it’s just boom, boom and check if the game is over. We lack patience, as we are very attacking people we want to play shots most of the times. So sometimes we tend to fall to a loose delivery as well.”
In the age of T20 cricket where innovative shots are the order of the day, Gayle is in awe of Virat Kohli who excels with conventional shots. “When you look at Mahela Jayawardene when he used to play T20, he had scored hundreds. He’s not a poor hitter but he had class and placed the ball and eventually you will pick up a few sixes. Kohli and Sangakkara are similar players in that they bat normally and still be able to score a hundred in T20,” he said.
Gayle said the influence of T20 on Tests is there for all to see. “Now you have teams scoring close to 350 in a day’s play. Those Test guys have started developing cricket skills to score quicker. Look at players like David Warner and what he brings to Test. That’s how myself and a guy like Sehwag could score a lot of runs in a day because we play so much of the shorter format,”