Time right for Gayle to walk away, insists Roberts

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West Indies veteran opener Chris Gayle

WEST Indies fast-bowling great Andy Roberts has hailed star batsman Chris Gayle as one of the game’s ‘great players’ but is convinced the time is right to walk away.

The 39-year-old Gayle had initially revealed plans to retire from international cricket following the ICC World Cup but seemed to have a change of heart just ahead of the tournament. The batsman instead targetted the regional team’s home series against India as possibly his final matches for the West Indies.

The batsman did not, however, have an outstanding World Cup, scoring a total of 242 runs in nine matches as the team limped to a ninth-place finish. Roberts, however, does not believe the player’s form merits immediate selection to the squad for the series.
“I watched Chris in the One Day series in the Caribbean (against England), I watched Chris in the World Cup and I am yet to see Chris Gayle play a cover drive on the ground in any of the innings he has played, off the front foot.

“He takes his time early and I don’t know the reason because I’ve seen in the early stage he gets a lot of balls to hit, but he’s just playing himself in and then after that he just tries to hit everything out of the ground and I don’t think youngsters can learn from that,” Roberts told the Antigua Observer.
“Chris has been one of our great players and I make no bones in saying that, but the time has come that we have to let the greatness speak for itself instead of trying to go on to achieve what he didn’t do, because most West Indians were hoping that he would do.”