Gayle is not the first cricketer to carry his kitbag to wherever he can earn
the most money and he most certainly won't be the last, but his arrogant, selfish
stance epitomises some of the changes hitting the game.
Gayle is currently obliterating everything that moves in the
IPL, where he started off his 2011 campaign with a scintillating ton for Royal
Challengers Bangalore, but all while West Indies have slumped 0-2 in their
five-match series against Pakistan.
He is defying his nation; defying the West Indies cricket board; defying his ever-publicly supportive team-mates.
The former West Indies skipper is not the only shades-sporting
perma-grinning mercenary plying his trade out in India while his country are
left stricken in the real world of international cricket, however.
Kieron Pollard, a first-choice pick in West Indies' limited-over
squads, is currently playing in the IPL for Mumbai Indians; equally, Dwayne Bravo,
who missed all but one game in the World Cup with injury while being supported
by his country, is set to miss the Test leg of the Pakistan tour to play in the
But the manner in which Pollard and Bravo have gone about having
mature, open and honest discussions with the West Indies Cricket Board has been
in stark contrast to the petulant, self-absorbed and wholly disrespectful
fashion in which Gayle has conducted his affairs.
WICB chief honcho Ernest Hilaire said: "Two of the players
(Pollard and Bravo) were very cooperative, very supportive and we have worked
to a mutually beneficial arrangement. But it did not exactly work out with
Chris... it is not about revenge.
"You expect when the coach pulls a player aside and speaks
to him there is a certain level of respect for that conversation," he told
Line and Length. "What's important is to state that we're very
disappointed in the way in which Chris has decided to respond.
"We've worked exceedingly hard to reach out to Chris -
numerous attempts - letters, phone calls, emails... you expect to be treated
with a certain degree of confidence."
Hilaire said the board was under the impression that Gayle was
undergoing rehabilitation, and would be available to play Pakistan once he was
fully fit, but the flashy batsman has spent the time visiting Kevin Pietersen
in London, tweeting and no doubt wearing his shades inside one or two rum-quaffing
would argue that he is only treading the path of the modern-day cricketer, of 'looking
after number one' and blazing his own trail. It is an attitude which has left
Hilaire questioning the entire era.
you look at West Indies cricket since the mid-90s, a lot of the systems we had
in place broke down: there's no discipline. We've been acting like this for 15
years and we've been losing.
one man is bigger than the team, no one man is such a superstar that he can
decide if he is training today, if he's going to have treatment tomorrow, or if
he's going to attend a team meeting: it cannot work that way."
Of course, this is Gayle's living we are talking about, but this is a man who benefited more from Allen Stanford's duffel bags of wonga than any other individual cricketer.
The precedent had of course been set long before Gayle pulled on a lurid gold and red set of Royal Challengers pyjamas, but he's currently rebranding disdain and defiance.
Gayle says the offer to play for Bangalore came "out of the blue at 3am. After a party!"
In the January IPL auction, Gayle had remained unsold: by mid-April he had effectively burned his bridges with the West Indies once more.
The danger is very apparent: the international game would fast deteriorate into a complete farce if the likes of Gayle continue to pick and choose which series they fancy playing in and on which occasions they are prepared to represent their country.
This is all part of a money-accumulating exercise for some players, but will it prove to be the end of international cricket as the sport's most prestigious and respected format?
Is Gayle's stance a sign of things to come? Will more players start picking and choosing which matches to turn up to? Will it change the international game forever? Leave your thoughts below.
BREAKING NEWS: It has just been confirmed: Duncan Fletcher is the new coach of India. Cowers will address the issue in full in next week's blog, but what do you make of the appointment? Will the former England sage prove to be a sensible choice for the World Cup winners as they look to reach the next level? Below is proof that Fletch did once teach Alastair Cook how to bowl off spin. Suffice to say it was not overly successful.
CAPTION COMPETITION: Now this is the kind of man who should be playing in the IPL. Shane Warne loves the glitz, the glamour, and the post-retirement attention the league in India provides. Here he basks in a winning performance with Liz Hurley. Who needs team-mates?
Post your captions below, and the best will be announced in the next blog...