Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
West Indies opener Chris Gayle has announced that he will consider retiring from Test cricket if his chronic back problems continue to flare up.
Gayle also revealed that he will mull over his Test future after the World Cup ends on March 29.
“I do [feel passionate about playing Test cricket], to be honest with you,” Gayle said in an interview with Digicel Cricket. “It is just that lately this back problem has kind of pushed me away a bit from Test cricket. To be able to go five days, it has been tough. I haven’t sorted my situation yet, which is the back problem. That is another concern … because I’ve been playing cricket straight on the road and really didn’t get a chance to spend the time and give the back as much time to heal.”
Gayle also noted that he is hesitant about getting his back surgically repaired since he is worried about how it will impact his cricket career.
“People say surgery but they say once you have surgery on your back basically your career can be over,” Gayle said. “It would never be the same as well. Lot of thinking then.”
When asked whether he will play in the West Indies’ next Test series, which comes against England on home soil in April, he said: “It is a possibility. You never know. After the World Cup we will see what happens. Where Chris Gayle will actually head. Or you can sit and discuss and work out how we go about playing for West Indies cricket.”
While Gayle is constantly in demand for all the domestic Twenty20 tournaments that take place around the world, he stated that cricketers need to have more free time so that they can be with their family and friends.
Using the West Indies’ recent tour of South Africa as an example, Gayle said: “That is important. That is something they can look into for sure, to give people a bit of time back home. This is our livelihood. This is our bread and butter still. At the same time you are going to drain yourself, you are not going to get the performances that you will normally see over the years consistently.
“Some of the guys have been away from home for four months now. It has been tough. They played a Test series in South Africa and they leave from South Africa and come straight here . It is going to take a toll on your body. It is a tricky one.”
In order to give players more time off throughout the year, Gayle believes the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) should adopt a rotation system.
“May be the board can come down and talk to players,” he said. “Have confidence in players to be able to talk honestly about how they feel. If a player says, listen they want a break, don’t take it personally. You can give a player a break. You can do the rotations system as well. I think Australia do that in some formats with their bowlers. We can look into that as well. Give the guys a chance by telling them they won’t lose their place. Because a player says he wants to take a rest it doesn’t mean he thinks he is bigger than the game.”