Chris Gayle has announced his retirement from 50-over international cricket after the World Cup this summer but provided a boost to the ECB by declaring an interest in their beleaguered Hundred competition.
Gayle, 39, is back in West Indies colours for Wednesday’s first one-day international here at the Kensington Oval after missing the tours of Bangladesh and India before Christmas.
And, in his own inimitable style, the self-styled ‘Universe Boss’ looked forward to the series while telling England they will not have a new tournament unless they recruited him to sprinkle stardust on it.
Chris Gayle will retire from one-day international cricket after this summer’s World Cup
‘I’m definitely looking to draw the line under 50-over cricket after the World Cup,’ said the biggest superstar of the modern franchise game. ‘I want to sit in the party stand and let the youngsters have some fun.’
Before that comes England’s attempt to start World Cup year with victory in the five-match series over a strong looking West Indies 50-over side with Gayle, closing in on 10,000 one-day international runs, at the top of the order.
‘I’m definitely looking to put on a show against England,’ said Gayle. ‘England fans love to see the Universe Boss exploding and entertaining you guys as much as possible. I don’t know who is opening the bowling for England but anyone should beware Chris Gayle.
The 39-year-old batsman has scored 9,727 ODI runs in 284 matches since his debut in 1999
‘That doesn’t change because he is 39. They are saying ‘he’s got a few grey hairs in his beard, let’s get him.’ But my body feels good. I’ve lost a bit of weight but I’m still working on my six pack. I’m hoping to enjoy the next couple of months with the West Indies team.’
ECB need the biggest world names to play in the Hundred, which will feature eight new teams, next year to make it credible. Gayle wants to be among them.
‘If I don’t play it won’t be a tournament,’ smiled Gayle. ‘I guess England should invite me over. Then I’ll explode the tournament and say ‘thank you guys.’ I will set the trend for you like I have all the tournaments around the world.’
However long he has left, a batsman good enough to score two triple centuries in Test cricket and 9,727 one-day international runs is content with his career. ‘Yes, I’m the greatest player in the world,’ he said. ‘Of course I can’t complain. You’re looking at a great man.’