Gayle vows to make Test return for Windies in 2016

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Melbourne, Dec 16 (IANS) Cricket superstar Chris Gayle has been quoted in Australia as saying one of his goals for the New Year is to resume his playing career with the West Indies Test team barring further injury.

Gayle said on Wednesday had it not been for his lingering back injury, he would have been playing in the current Test series between Australia and the West Indies, reports CMC.

The 36-year-old has been undergoing rehabilitation work after surgery on a debilitating back injury earlier this year.

“I haven’t retired from the game. Test cricket is still on the agenda, for sure,” said Gayle, who played the last of his 103 Tests in July 2014.

“I’m just coming back off an injury so there’s no way I could’ve actually been part of that Test team. If I wasn’t (recovering from a back injury) I would definitely. I haven’t retired from the game.”

Gayle, who has scored 7,214 Test runs at an average of 42.18, has stressed that his interest in Test cricket has not dwindled but explained that his back problems have delayed his return to the longer format of the game.

He is playing for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League after featuring in four T20 matches of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) earlier this month.

The West Indies opener represented Barisal Bulls in the BPL and scored a blazing unbeaten 92 in a one-sided victory over Chittagong Vikings.

“I haven’t batted for such a long time that (when) I scored 92 in a game and the next day I felt I’d been hit by a bus. This is the biggest challenge, coming back into cricket (after) being out of cricket for maybe three-four months,” he said.

“It’s been tough, not much batting. Those games (in Bangladesh) played a big part for me (in recovering from injury). It was good to be out here in the middle.”

Gayle has also appealed for support for the West Indies team, comprising mostly of young players, saying they need time to develop as a Test playing side.

The West Indies lost seven of their last ten Test matches and suffered a heavy defeat in the opening Test match against Australia after losing to a Cricket Australia XI side that featured six players making their first-class debuts.

“If you want to bash the cricket, you bash me basically,” he said.

“We are loved around the world. We might not be playing good cricket but… it’s a young team so we have to definitely give it time rather than being so harsh on West Indies’ cricket all the time. Some young players are coming through the ranks. We have to give them time.”

Gayle has brushed aside suggestions that many West Indies players chose to play domestic Twenty20 competitions, such as BBL and IPL instead of representing the region in Tests.

“I don’t know which blokes you’re talking about. If it’s (Dwayne) Bravo he’s retired from Test cricket. I don’t know any others with any other issues,” Gayle said.

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