A war of words has erupted between West Indies legends Curtly Ambrose and Chris Gayle, after the former fast bowler said the batter wouldn’t be an automatic pick in his starting side for the T20 World Cup.
The West Indies are the defending champions, having won the title in 2016, but at the age of 42, Gayle’s best days are clearly long behind him.
He played just two matches for Punjab Kings in the second UAE leg of the IPL, making 1 and 14. His form in the recent Caribbean Premier League was nothing to write home about either, scoring 165 runs at an average of 18.33 in nine matches for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
Ambrose conceded that Gayle “can still be destructive”, but said he “hasn’t done much in the last 18 months to convince me that he will set the World Cup alight.”
“For me, Gayle is definitely not an automatic choice for starting,” Ambrose told Barbados radio.
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“When you look at his exploits over the last 18 months, he has struggled not only for the West Indies, but other T20 franchises. The few home series we played, he hasn’t had any scores of significance.
The figures back up Ambrose’s statements. This year Gayle has made just 227 runs in 16 T20Is, averaging 17.46 with only one fifty. His strike-rate of 117 is a far cry from the 130-140 mark he regularly achieved, or even exceeded, in his heyday.
Replying to Ambrose’s remarks, Gayle said he had “no respect” for the fast bowling icon.
“I am speaking about Curtly Ambrose. I am singling out Curtly Ambrose, one of your own. I highly respected him when I came into the West Indies team,” Gayle told The Island Tea Morning Show in St Kitts.
“When I just joined the team, I looked up to this man. But I am now speaking from my heart. I don’t know what, since he retired, what he had against Chris Gayle. Those negative things he has been saying within the press, I don’t know if he is looking for attention, but he is getting the attention. So I am just giving back the attention which he requires and which he needs.
“I can tell you personally, and you can let him know that Chris Gayle, the Universe Boss, have no respect for Curtly Ambrose whatsoever.”
Gayle was also a member of the West Indies side that won the tournament in 2012, but says he’ll no longer have anything to do with Ambrose.
“I am finished with Curtly Ambrose,” Gayle added.
“I have no respect, any time I see him I will tell him as well — ‘Stop being negative, support the team ahead of the World Cup.’ This team has been selected and we need past players to support us. We need that, we don’t need negative energy. In other teams, their past players support their teams, why can’t our own support us in a big tournament like this?
“We have won the tournament twice, and we will be going for the third title. The team has seen what is happening. It is going to reflect on the team. I am not going to take anything from any senior player. Curtly Ambrose pull your socks up, alright? Support for West Indies, ok? Support West Indies, that is the thing.”
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