‘I haven’t retired’: Gayle wants ‘farewell’ game in Jamaica

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Has he played his last game for West Indies or has he not?

Chris Gayle hasn’t answered that question definitively yet, but he hopes he’ll get to play a farewell game in front of his home crowd in Jamaica.

Gayle was part of West Indies’ XI on Saturday as the two-time champions bowed out of the T20 World Cup with an eight-wicket defeat to Australia. The game had an end-of-era feel to it, with Dwayne Bravo having already confirmed his retirement from international cricket, and with both Bravo and Gayle getting a guard of honour from the Australia players.

“It’s been a phenomenal career,” Gayle said in a Facebook Live chat with ICC after the match. “I didn’t announce any retirement but [if] they actually give me one game in Jamaica to go in front of my home crowd, then I can say ‘hey guys, thank you so much.’

“Let’s see. If not, I’ll announce it long time and then I’ll be joining DJ Bravo in the backend and say thanks to each and everyone but I can’t say that as yet.”

Gayle conceded, though, that he has played his last World Cup game.

“I was just having some fun today,” he said. “Put everything that happened aside. I was just interacting with the fans in the stand and just having some fun seeing as it’s going to be my last World Cup game.”

Then he joked that he would love to play one more World Cup. “But I don’t think they will allow me.”

Chris Gayle of West Indies makes his way through a guard of honour following the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup match between Australia and Windies at Sheikh Zayed stadium on November 06, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Gareth Copley-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Gayle went over his career in some detail, mentioning some of the setbacks he has faced including the heart surgery he underwent in 2005 after feeling an irregular heartbeat during a Test match against Australia in Hobart.

“I’ve been through a lot of struggle,” Gayle said. “You mentioned the heart condition but I’ve had a phenomenal career. I want to give thanks to actually be standing here today, aged 42 still going strong. The career has been really great. I’ve had a bit of hiccups here and there. I’ve shed blood, I’ve shed tears in West Indies cricket, you name it, one leg, one hand, I’m still batting for West Indies.

“It was a pleasure always to represent West Indies, I’m very passionate about West Indies. It really hurts bad when we lose games and we don’t get the result and the fans [are] so [much] more very important to me because I’m an entertainer. When I don’t get the chance to entertain them it really hurt me a lot. You might not that see that expression, I might not show those sort of emotions, but I’m gutted inside for the fans, and especially for this World Cup as well.”

Gayle revealed that he has had to play this World Cup against the backdrop of his father falling ill.

“Most people didn’t even know since the first game of the World Cup my dad has been ill so I have to rush back to Jamaica tonight, see what the doctor have to say about him,” Gayle said. “He’s batting well, he’s 91 years old, but he’s been struggling a bit. I have to go back home.

“Sometimes as a player we play through a lot of things and we don’t really express these things. We’re here to do a job. Those are the behind the scenes, what you have to deal with as a player and then come and perform.”

While Gayle projects a seemingly laidback attitude to life and cricket, he was at pains to point out the hard work that’s gone behind building his formidable record across all three formats.

“I’m a very determined person. I work hard. A lot of people don’t see the hard work, but I work hard in silence. I’m a talent and I use it wisely.

“I grew up from nothing to something. I didn’t have anything, I didn’t have the luxury when I was growing up so I used those things to motivate me as well. Start my career, ‘Mum I’ll get you a house’, when I make the first money, I’ll buy a car. Those are the things that keep you going. With the stability and the mental strength I have, that carried me right through 20-odd years of playing for the West Indies and playing around the world as well.

“At no time I felt like I’ll actually reach the bar, that I’m bigger or better than anyone else. I was very humble with it as well. I just give thanks to the almighty to actually be standing here telling you all these things.” (ESPNcricinfo)

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