The big three - India, England and Australia - playing the bulk of Test cricket will eventually “kill the game” and the players of smaller boards like the West Indies must be paid better for international cricket to flourish, feels Chris Gayle.
Gayle is best known for his exploits in T20 cricket but he is also a veteran of 103 Tests and 301 ODIs. The 43-year-old said only three teams dominating the game can’t be good for the game in the long run.
“Over the years, cricket has changed quite a bit. It is a big business now. Lot of money being thrown around not just in T20 leagues but Test cricket as well. The bigger teams getting paid more than the smaller teams, leaving them at a disadvantage.
“It needs to be structured so that everyone can benefit. The disadvantaged and lower-ranked teams need to play more games to develop their skills. Infrastructure needs to be created for them and those players need to be paid well just like the big teams because everyone is playing the same amount of cricket,” Gayle said on the sidelines of the Indian Veteran Premier League launch.
The Jamaican dasher’s statement needs to be put into perspective as save the “Big Three’‘, the lower-ranked teams in the ICC rankings don’t play three formats regularly throughout the year.
No Clarity on the future of ODIs
Gayle can’t predict what the future holds for ODIs as well but has linked up West Indies’ struggling run in the ongoing World Cup qualifiers to lack of incentives for the smaller teams to play international cricket.
“Absolutely. We need to (incentivise). The women will also fight for their rights as well, payment-wise. I am sure they want to be up there as much as men from a pay point of view. I know there are leagues around the world but sometimes territories restrict those players to play in those leagues and they won’t be able to get the funding they deserve,” the former opener referred to the cap on the number of private leagues that a freelancer can ply his trade in.
“If (the boards) don’t allow them to play those tournaments, then pay them properly, so that you can make international cricket better rather than have two or three teams pretty much dominating Test and ODI cricket. It doesn’t make sense at all. It would kill the game,” said the Jamaican.
‘West Indies’ performance in qualifiers upsetting’
Two-time world champion West Indies is on the brink of elimination from the ODI World Cup qualifiers in Harare and that has saddened Gayle.
“It is upsetting. I have been a part of Qualifiers before. Sad to be in such a situation. Things have not gone our way going into the Super Six. It is going to be tough. I will be very very disappointed not seeing the West Indies in the World Cup here in India,” Gayle, a two-time winner of the T20 World Cup said.
‘Indo-Pak cricketers should demand more money’
Talking about the upcoming 50-over World Cup in India later this year, Gayle picked India, England, Pakistan and New Zealand as the four semifinalists.
On the much-awaited Indo-Pak clash in Ahmedabad on October 15, Gayle has a rather different take. “Whenever those teams play, especially in a World Cup, the revenues they generate is humongous. One game can take care of the entire ICC event. Pakistan and India players should demand a lot of money for those games because those games are high-paid games TV wise. I don’t control the board or the ICC. If I was in their position I would want a lot more,” he said.
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