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Sunday, June 19, 2011

'Not picking Gayle is Windies' loss' says Wasim

'Not picking Gayle is Windies' loss'

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram believes that Chris Gayle won’t lose anything by not playing for the national side.
By Our Correspondent

It will be Advantage India in the Test series, says Wasim Akram, adding Chris Gayle's absence will only give the tourists a shot in the arm and a big mental boost.

Destructive opening batsman Gayle has been ignored so far for his outburst against the West Indies Cricket Board in a radio-show in April. The Board wants Gayle to apologize in order to win his place back. A couple of meetings between the two parties have failed to resolve the dispute.

Gayle is apparently mulling retiring from international cricket. This stalemate has former Pakistan skipper Akram worried for the future of Caribbean cricket.

“Only performances should not matter but discipline is also very important. But with all the lucrative T20 tournaments around the world like IPL, Gayle doesn’t stand to lose much if he never plays for the Windies again. We all saw what a dynamic player he is while playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore during IPL 4. He can change the course of a game in a few overs. Thus I feel, West Indies cricket stands to lose by not picking Gayle, instead of it being vice-versa,” opined Akram during an exclusive conversation with Mobile ESPN from London on Saturday night.

After a disappointing ICC World Cup campaign, superstar Gayle had a phenomenal IPL by amassing 608 runs from 12 innings with a strike rate of well above 170! The 'Orange Cap' winner clinched as many as six Man-of-the-Match awards. He is also the only player in the history of this cash-rich league to record two hundreds in one edition itself. Apart from the IPL, Gayle also plies his trade in the T20 Big Bash in Australia.

While West Indies cricket remains in turmoil, Akram is happy the controversy around Shahid Afridi’s shock retirement due to his differences with coach Waqar Younis has ended. Afridi was fined 4.5 million rupees by the PCB after pleading guilty for airing his views in public. However, the Pakistan Board has allowed Afridi to play for Hampshire in the domestic T20 championships in England.

Akram is relieved that all the drama is now over. “I am glad all the differences were sorted out between the Board and Afridi. It is time to move on from this.”

The temperamental Afridi was the joint-highest wicket-taker in the World Cup along with Zaheer Khan with 21 scalps. Akram feels Pakistan still need Afridi since he has been their best bowler in recent times.

“I hope that he plays for Pakistan again. Afridi is still our best bowler. I also believe he is a good enough cricketer to be there in any side in the world in the limited-overs format,” concluded Akram.

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