West Indies cricket coach Stuart Law has defended out-of-form batsman Chris Gayle, saying critics who suggest his international career may be over “write him off at your peril.”
The 38-year-old Gayle scored only 38 runs in four innings on the West Indies’ disastrous tour of New Zealand which ended on Wednesday with a 119-run loss in the third Twenty20 international .
The tourist lost the two-match Test series 2-0, the three-match one-day series 3-0 and the Twenty20 2-0 with one match washed out.
Gayle looked largely disinterested, missing one of the one-day matches with a reported virus. He was out for a duck in his latest innings on Wednesday, throwing up his gloves to defend himself against a relatively innocuous short-pitched ball from Tim Southee.
Gayle came to New Zealand immediately after scoring 146 from 69 balls for Rangpur Riders in the final of the Bangladesh Premier League, after which he proclaimed himself the best T20 batsman in world cricket. His subsequent performances in New Zealand led to speculation he may soon retire from international cricket to continue his career in more lucrative professional leagues.
But Law said Gayle still has much to offer the West Indies. “Right now it probably doesn’t look like it but there’s plenty of cricket left in the big man,” Law said. “He can destroy any attack, it doesn’t have to be a minnow. He’s central to the way this dressing room ticks and commands a lot of respect. He’s just got to start performing in the middle again. He didn’t click in this series. He had a viral infection in the one-dayers and, while T20 is probably his best format, he didn’t get the starts he wanted. He’s played this game long enough. He knows how to do it. He was pretty good in England a few months ago.”
Law said the West Indies’ form in New Zealand was disappointing but was due in part to the absence of a number of senior players who were key contributors to the team’s win in the World T20 two years ago. “It was a pretty disappointing tour,” Law said. “New Zealand played good, disciplined cricket but we fell short. We need to do a lot of hard work, planning and understanding. That means some soul-searching by looking in the mirror and asking if we gave it everything to change a game, get into a game and win a game.”