Agencies/Manchester, United Kingdom
Chris Gayle says he deserves to be considered alongside the greats of West Indies cricket but is refusing to set a definite date for his retirement.
The swashbuckling opener is still hoping the West Indies can sneak into the World Cup semi-finals, with India next in line at Old Trafford today, but the odds are stacked heavily against them.
Jason Holder’s team began the tournament with a comprehensive seven-wicket win against Pakistan but soon lost momentum and that remains their only victory in six matches.
Self-styled “Universe Boss” Gayle, who hit 87 in his team’s heartbreaking five-run loss to New Zealand on Saturday, said he would always cherish his two decades playing for the West Indies.
“I’m definitely up there with the greats, without a doubt. Like I say, I enjoy each and every moment playing for West Indies,” Gayle said yesterday.
“It’s still not the end. I still have a few games to go. Maybe another series to go. Who knows? We’ll see what happens.”
“I started my career with the likes of Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose,” he added. “You watch them on TV and you realise they’re in the dressing room, it’s just a bunch of guys.”
The 39-year-old had previously hinted he could retire from one-day international cricket after the World Cup but then prevaricated following a run-filled series against England.
West Indies host India for two Tests, three ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals in August and September and Gayle believes that might be the time to bow out.
“Maybe a Test match against India and definitely play the ODIs against India. I won’t play the T20s. That’s my plan after the World Cup,” said a smiling Gayle, who last played Test cricket in 2014.
Gayle, who has amassed more than 10,000 runs in ODIs, admitted winning the World Cup would have been the ideal end to his career.
Barring a freak set of results, the two-time champions, who have three games left, will be heading home before the semi-finals.
“What I really wanted was actually to be in that play-off,” said Gayle. “What I really wanted was to be in that final four and then to be able to get my hands on the World Cup. We’ll see what happens.”
Holder said Gayle had been a positive influence on the younger players.
“I think he’s done a hell of a job, more so off the field and also on the field. And he’s been obviously one who holds a presence in the dressing room,” said the skipper.
“And the guys really look up to him and they shared a lot of knowledge over the past couple of weeks. He’s been firm when he had to be firm and he’s been honest.”
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