The chances of former West Indies captain Chris Gayle featuring in next year’s Test series in England have receded despite recent attempts at conciliation by the West Indies Cricket Board.
Gayle, 32 next week, caused uproar in 2009 when he turned up on tour just two days before the first Test at Lord’s. But he is currently exiled from international cricket, having last featured for the Windies in March at the World Cup, and now has wall-to-wall Twenty20 engagements for six months running from December.
His latest agreement is to play for the Durban-based Dolphins franchise in South Africa’s domestic Pro20 competition, between February 15 and March 30, 2012.
That tournament fits snugly between his commitments with Big Bash League team Sydney Thunder and the Indian Premier League where, as the 2011 orange cap winner for most runs, he will be among the hottest properties.
His 2011 entrance to the IPL as an injury replacement for Dirk Nannes at Royal Challengers Bangalore contributed to his acrimonious split with the WICB, who granted a No Objection Certificate despite their ‘disappointment’.
Board chief executive Ernest Hilaire held a face-to-face meeting with Gayle last month in an attempt to lure him back but even though heads of Caribbean Government have become involved there is no hint of an end to the impasse.
England’s fringe bowlers will be dispatched to the High Performance Centre in Potchefstroom later this year to prepare for the post-Christmas tours.
Lead bowling coach Kevin Shine is to oversee a training programme for those deemed to be between England Lions level and the Test and one-day international sides.
Players such as Ajmal Shahzad and Graham Onions, who have dropped down the pecking order due to loss of form or injury, are expected to be amongst a small group sent to work at altitude but Onions’ county colleague Liam Plunkett will not be going – he starts a programme to re-model his bowling action with Durham coaches Neil Killeen and Alan Walker in early October.
While the full England squad head to the United Arab Emirates in early January for Test, one-day and Twenty20 commitments, a Lions party is heading to Bangladesh.
Lancashire have asked the security firm hired for matches at Old Trafford to provide regular stewards in the aftermath of national treasure David Lloyd’s eviction from the pavilion before the Twenty20 international between England and India.
Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes has held two meetings with top bosses of G4S since the August 31 incident and the club’s financial director Lee Morgan and commercial director Geoff Durbin visited Bumble at home in the immediate aftermath.
“The problem is that some of these security people have not been at cricket before and continuity of personnel at matches would be better,” admitted Cumbes.
Popular television commentator Lloyd was looking at photographs of yesteryear in the bar area of the club he served as player, captain and coach when he was asked to leave. Because the 63-year-old was wearing the correct accreditation, he initially refusal to go, but was then escorted out by several members of the G4S team.
“I wouldn’t have said a word if it wasn’t MY cricket club. I spent 23 years there and it is part of my soul,” Lloyd said. “There is so much good going on at Old Trafford, with the new development and the team doing so well. But someone is making the whole experience of going there an ordeal.
“For me that area of the pavilion is very nostalgic, and I was just enjoying reminiscing about the past, looking at all the pictures of my old team-mates. I was not happy to be told repeatedly that I hadn’t got the correct paperwork.”
Former Durham man Martin Saggers once again featured in the decisive moment of the county’s pursuit of the Division One title.
Three years after being last man out for Kent to seal the club’s inaugural Championship, Saggers officially ended hopes of a third in four years when, in his role of third umpire in the televised match between Hampshire and Warwickshire, he pressed the button to confirm Danny Briggs’ first-innings run out.
Briggs’ dismissal completed a full set of bowling bonus points for Warwickshire and took them out of the range of Phil Mustard’s team.