WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — Chris Gayle intends to keep playing international cricket with his eyes on the 2016 World Twenty20 but admitted his back injury will sideline him from next month’s Test series against England.
The 35-year-old Jamaican hit a typically flamboyant 33-ball 61 as West Indies slumped to a crushing 143-run defeat to New Zealand in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday with many in the game expecting Gayle to end his rollercoaster relationship with the national team.
But the veteran of 103 Tests and 269 ODIs intends to keep playing and is keen to help West Indies to the World T20 in India next year where they’ll look for a second title to add to their 2012 triumph.
“Definitely want to play the T20 World Cup next year for West Indies, there’s no doubt about that,” Gayle told www.ESPNcricinfo.
“I’ve got a few concerns and a few injuries to try and solve. I’ll give myself some time and hopefully look back at it and see how well I can actually progress for West Indies cricket at this point in time.”
But the left-handed opener, who hit a World Cup record score of 215 at the World Cup until it was bettered on Saturday by New Zealand’s Martin Guptill with 237, will not play in the three-Test home series against England in April and May to rest his back injury.
“I’m actually out of the Test series, the back won’t hold up for that format at this point in time. But I haven’t retired from any format as yet. As I go on I will keep informing the West Indies Cricket Board about my progress in the future with West Indies cricket.”
On Saturday, and with the West Indies having to chase 394 at the Westpac, Gayle hit 56 of his 61 runs in boundaries, including eight sixes, as he was reduced to walking pace between the wickets.
But he put that down to a groin strain rather than his troublesome back.
“The back actually held up well, to be honest with you, in the outfield for 50 overs and then opening the batting,” he said.
“It wasn’t too bad, slight scare again with a niggle in the groin, so all that was happening, and you have to take the conditions into consideration, it was a bit cold and you’re feeling some pain.”
Gayle said he was looking forward to working with former international all-rounder Phil Simmons, who will take over as West Indies coach next month after signing a three-year deal with the WICB.
“I know Phil well,” Gayle said. “He’s a good man, he has done well with Ireland and he’s one of us as well, so there’s no doubt about it. We know how we can actually become a stronger unit.”