West Indies skipper Jason Holder said that while it is great to have Chris Gayle in and around the national team when he is available, the opener’s absences give others the opportunity to get into the playing XI too.
Gayle, 39, opted out of the ODIs and T20Is in India next month, making himself unavailable for national selection.
“Chris is an all-star and I think it’s clear he’s probably at the back end of his career now. He’s probably tapering off a bit,” Holder said. “I just saw him play his last List A game for Jamaica, scoring a hundred against my home team (Barbados), which is great to see.
“I enjoy having Chris around. I think he’s one of the most entertaining players in the world but his absence gives another player [an] opportunity.”
West Indies were crowned champions in the first two editions of the ODI World Cup, but since then, they have been on a steady downward spiral.
Holder and his team have 13 ODIs to figure out their squad for the 2019 World Cup, which will be hosted in England and Wales next year. While the 26-year-old sees the time constraint before him, he believes he has enough space to take a good look at the players in contention for the tournament.
“We have a limited time leading up to the World Cup and it’s a good option to see what we have in the tank, in terms of our pool of players, when one door closes another one opens and hopefully it’s an opportunity to see another young guy coming through,” he said.
Gayle, who last played for the West Indies in July 2018, will be a part of the 2019 World Cup squad, Holder said, provided “his body holds up”.
“He’s definitely going to play the World Cup once his body holds up and he’s fit. We’d welcome him into the team,” Holder said. “If you go back to the beginning of the year, Chris made himself available for the World Cup Qualifiers. He only did that really because he wants to play the World Cup, he wants to play well for the West Indies and he wants to do well.
There will be no Chris Gayle, but Kieron Pollard and Darren Bravo will be a part of the Windies' limited-overs matches in India.
— ICC (@ICC) October 8, 2018
“When he does that – he has plenty of options around the world to make money – it says something about the individual, says something about what he wants and I really admire that.
“He was obviously a pivotal part in us qualifying to the World Cup. Guys like him, Marlon Samuels, who really made themselves available in that instance, credit must go to them and not only them, to each and every individual who has come up to represent West Indies.
“They knew the significance and importance of that tournament; we played against teams we probably weren’t accustomed to playing against. It was difficult. But as the series went on, we rallied well and we achieved the objective.”