February 24, 2021 Veteran opener Chris Gayle could make an appearance in West Indies colours for the first time in nearly two years against Sri Lanka next week after indicating on Monday that he was leaving the Pakistan Super League and returning to the Caribbean for “international duties”. The 41-year-old played two matches for Quetta Gladiators during the PSL which bowled off here last weekend, hitting 39 in Saturday’s opener against Karachi Kings and 68 against Lahore Qalanders on Monday.
In a post-match interview following the nine-wicket defeat to Qalanders, Gayle announced he would be leaving to join up with West Indies.
“It is sad to leave because I wanted to play the full PSL,” said the former West Indies captain.
“That’s the reason why I actually put my name up because I wanted to come here and dominate the PSL. I wanted to give the fans something to cheer about after I’ve been to Pakistan to like 15 years.
“Unfortunately, I have to leave for international duties but Lahore is there and that’s the second stage of second round.
“So you know still a lot of cricket to play so I’m looking forward to actually you know visit Lahore as well.”
West Indies will take on Sri Lanka in three Twenty20 Internationals starting March 3 in Antigua, marking the Caribbean side’s first home series in more than a year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Selectors are yet to announce a squad for the games, however, but Gayle’s revelation suggests the strongest side is likely to be fielded for the series.
The left-hander last turned out for West Indies when he made a whirlwind 72 against India at Port of Spain in the final One-Day International of a three-match series back in 2019.
He has not played a T20 International since March of that year when England toured the Caribbean.
Though in the twilight of his career, Chris Gayle remains one of the most sought-after T20 batsmen on the international franchise circuit due to his fearless hitting.
Gayle has amassed 13,691 runs and 22 hundreds in 413 T20s, and has also struck two centuries in 58 internationals for West Indies.
He said it was a “blessing” to be still playing cricket amid the challenges posed by the pandemic.
“I am glad to be playing cricket at this particular time. Playing during this particular time is a blessing. Hopefully, things can get better in the future,” Gayle noted.
“When you look at what’s happening in the world there are no fans in the stadiums and people have to watch [cricket] on television, it is something people and players look back and say we have to appreciate times when we actually had good things and not take them for granted.
“Things are tough with the world in pause. We must not take life for granted when things can open.”