A series of emails between Gayle and WICB chief executive officer Dr Ernest Hilaire – copies of which were obtained by the SUNDAY SUN – revealed that a resolution paving the way for the opening batsman’s return to the West Indies team appears to be some distance off.
Gayle wrote the WICB on April 20 indicating he would be available for the tour after fulfilling obligations to his Indian Premier League (IPL) team and asked if he could be informed whether he would be selected, given his additional commitments to English county, Somerset.
“The board has now considered your request and is extremely disappointed, that following the progress we had seemed to be making towards final agreement, you now seem unwilling to honour the commitment you made with respect to your Somerset contract,” Hilaire told Gayle in an email on April 26.
“I remind you that in your “side letter” of March 23, 2012 to Prime Minister [Dr Ralph] Gonsalves, you stated that you would forego your contract with Somerset, after your IPL contract in India, to make yourself available to play for the West Indies.
“You reiterated this commitment in your April 1 letter, in response to WICB’s request for clarification. Your most recent communication appears to suggest that you may be reneging on your availability as you now state that you are willing to make yourself available and not that you are making yourself available. A player cannot be considered for selection if he has not made himself available for selection.”
West Indies will leave for England on Tuesday for a tour that runs until June 24, but Gayle is contracted to IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore until May 27.
Prior to making progress in a year-long standoff with the WICB, Gayle secured a deal in January with England county, Somerset, to play for the club in the Friends Life T20 competition starting on June 12.
“They [Somerset] require me to give an undertaking of my availability for the entire duration of my contract which actually clashes with the West Indies and England tour,” Gayle wrote in his email to the WICB.
“However, I would appreciate if I could be informed whether I will be contracted for the West Indies team for [the] England tour before I give my commitment to Somerset.
“I only ask this so I would be in an informed position before I respond to Somerset, given the fact that I indicated my availability to the West Indies team after the IPL.”
The WICB did not take the matter lightly.
“It is in complete contradiction to the commitment made in the memorandum of resolution and your side letter that you would now seek a commitment from the WICB on your selection for the West Indies tour of England, (which as you are well aware cuts across the English county season), so that you can give an undertaking to Somerset,” Hilaire said.
“That apart, you would recall that during our meeting with Prime Minister Gonsalves, the WICB was clear that team selection is the purview of the selection panel and not the board of directors.”