Friday 4 July 2008 

All-Round Improvement Needed, Says Chris Gayle

Asked whether the comment by WICB president Dr. Julian Hunte's statement that the team needs to start winning against top ranked teams to avoid relegation into a possible second tier of international cricket was a major motivation, West Indies captain Chris Gayle said that the team needs improve regardless of relegation threats.

"Regardless of what the president says, we know it's a fact that we need to improve our cricket, we really need to go out there and show what we are made of," Gayle told journalists after the West Indies practice session at Warner Park.

Asked about the decision to select several young players against the top ranked Australian side, Gayle said the West Indies selectors (chairman Gordon Greenidge, Andy Roberts and Clyde Butts) wanted to see what some of the younger players in the region had to offer but he felt it was the wrong time to experiment.

"The discussion was that the selectors needed to look at a few players based on the ICC Champions Trophy coming up, they are trying to find new players to put pressure on other guys to perform (but) before the (Digicel Home) series actually started I said 'do you really want to experiment against a team like Australia?," Gayle revealed.

"If so be the case then it's going to be even more difficult to beat them (Australia) I just thought it was the wrong time to try these things, to experiment a lot, it was the totally wrong time, you have to look for your best team rather than just giving guys an opportunity and just push them in against Australia," the 28 year old hard hitting left handed batsman said.

"We should be looking to win the series but it's already gone now so you just have to do what you have to do," Gayle said.

Gayle also said that he was confused as he was told the squad for the final two Digicel ODIs would be made up of 14 players but the current squad consists of 13 players and he has no idea what is the situation with the 14th player.

"We only have 13 in the squad at this particular time when there should be 14, I don't know the reason behind that because a 14 man squad was selected but there are only 13 players here (in St Kitts) so a lot of things are happening and I don't really know so it's kind of difficult in my situation at this particular time," Gayle revealed.

"(The) majority of the times we discuss selection but sometimes I get something totally different so it's difficult on my side, (Kieran) Powell from Nevis was in discussion for selection," Gayle told the regional journalists.

"No one has come back to me and said anything (about Powell or the 14th player), it's really disappointing , as captain these are the things you have to deal with, I'm not going to get into details but that's what has been happening, I won't call names," Gayle said.

He also called for the regional first class season to coincide with the Digicel Home Series so that players would be fresh coming into international cricket and if players are dropped from the West Indies team they can go back to first class cricket and try to recover their form.

"It's always going to be difficult sitting at home and coming in to international cricket and expect the player to perform, it's going to be really really difficult especially against the number one team," Gayle reasoned.

"Hopefully we can develop our cricket a bit better and set some better programmes, the facilities are there we need to utilize it as much as possible," Gayle urged.

And Gayle sounded a stern warning to the West Indies Cricket Board as well, saying that if they are not careful they will continue to lose their best players.

"If they (WICB) don't be careful, we are going to lose players, when these things (lucrative non-WICB cricketing opportunities) come around if the (WICB) structure don't get right we are going to lose a lot of players. We've lost so many players right now, we've lost (Corey) Collymore, Pedro Collins, Tino Best, Wavell Hinds all those guys," Gayle warned.

"Who is to tell? You never know, we (other senior players) might just find ourselves right down there (with other cricketing organizations)," Gayle said.

And he said that the expectation from the West Indian public against the Australians are high but he feels that the team would be able to produce better results against England in the Digicel Home Series 2009.

"We have a lot of young players (in the current West Indies side), there's not a lot of experience in the team, sometimes you (the media and public) ask for a lot from this team, it's going to be difficult, maybe when England tour comes around next year if nothing happens (West Indies produce victories) then give us the stick then," Gayle reasoned.

© Digicel Cricket

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