June 26, 2019 / 2:12 PM / 23 days ago

Gayle delays retirement to play home series against India

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - West Indies opener Chris Gayle wants to play the home series against India in August-September reversing his earlier decision to quit international cricket after the ongoing World Cup, the batsman said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup - West Indies v New Zealand - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - June 22, 2019 West Indies' Chris Gayle in action Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

The 39-year-old had earlier this year announced his plans to retire after the World Cup to make way for younger players after two decades in international cricket.

Asked about his post-retirement plans, Gayle sprang a surprise saying he wanted to play the series against India.

“After the World Cup, maybe a test match against India and then I’ll play, definitely play, the ODIs against India,” the Jamaican said ahead of Thursday’s match against the Asian side.

“I won’t play the T20s. That’s my plan after World Cup.”

India will play three Twenty20 internationals, as many one-dayers and two tests in West Indies, the last in Jamaica which could be Gayle’s farewell at home.

The decision of the self-styled ‘Universal Boss’ caught even his captain by surprise.

“I was just updated...” Jason Holder, who addressed a news conference soon after Gayle’s media interaction, told reporters.

“He didn’t really say anything in the dressing room. But, yeah, it’s great and it’s great for cricket.

“It’s good to have Chris around, as I said before. He’s got a lot to offer still, I believe. And hopefully his body can hold up. Hopefully he can be on the field a bit longer for West Indies.”

Gayle is the only batsman to hit a test triple-century, a one-day double-century, and a Twenty20 hundred.

The left-hander has more than 19,000 runs in international cricket, including two test triple centuries.

However, with just one win from six games, the two-time champions face an uphill battle to make the semi-finals as they take on an India team who have remained unbeaten in the tournament.

West Indies then face Sri Lanka and Afghanistan in their last two group matches and Gayle hopes to give the team some cheer with the bat.

“In these three games, I’d love to get a hundred as well. But if it doesn’t happen, I can’t actually complain or be too hard on myself,” he said.

“I’ve actually achieved a lot. But what I really wanted was actually to be in that playoff. What I really wanted was to be in that final four and then anything could have actually happened and then to be able to get my hands on the World Cup.

“We’ll see what happens.”

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Manchester; editing by Christian Radnedge

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