Chris Gayle has said he will seek treatment in Germany for an injured back to ensure he is fit for West Indies’ home Tests against New Zealand.
Gayle is eyeing a return to fitness for the first Test in Kingston, which begins on June 8. If he plays, it will be his 100th Test match. The opening batsman suffered the injury after the World T20 in March and missed a few games for his franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore, at the start of the 2014 Indian Premier League (IPL).
“It started at the end of the T20 World Cup. I thought initially it was a simple thing but I went back home for a couple of days,” Gayle told Indian Express. “Then I travelled back to Dubai to play in the IPL and when I started training I found it difficult. I could not bat properly and bending was a problem and sprinting between the wickets was a problem even though you guys don’t see me running much. It was difficult but I tried my best.”
Gayle has been struggling with injuries in the recent past. He last played a Test against India in November 2013. A hamstring injury he suffered in the first ODI against India sidelined him from the rest of the series and West Indies’ tour to New Zealand in December 2013. He made a return to the side for the limited-overs matches against Ireland, but missed the ODIs against England in February this year due to lower back pain. If not for all this, Gayle said he would have played his 100th Test “a long time back”.
“It will mean a lot to me,” he said. “I have been serving West Indies cricket for the last 13 years and going on to 14 years now, I am actually looking forward to this milestone. I have missed out on the last couple of months because of injury. I was supposed to get past this milestone a long time back but it didn’t happen. As a cricketer these things happen and you pick injuries at crucial times.
“I still have an injury now and I am trying to get it sorted as quickly as possible so I can be fully fit for the special occasion. It is going to be played at home so it is a big occasion for me and for the people back home too. I don’t have much time but hopefully it will work out and I will be back on the field quickly.”
Gayle has been named in the 15-member West Indies training squad that will participate in a preparatory camp ahead of the Tests against New Zealand. Gayle is expected to join the camp on June 1, along with Sunil Narine, who is currently playing the IPL for his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders. Dwayne Bravo and Kemar Roach, who are coming off shoulder injuries, are also a part of the squad, along with Jamaica pacer Jerome Taylor, who returned to cricket after being sidelined by injury for more than three years.
West Indies training squad: Denesh Ramdin (captain), Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Shiv Chanderpaul, Kirk Edwards, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Shane Shillingford, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor.