ST JOHN’S, Antigua—Chairman of selectors Clyde Butts has welcomed Chris Gayle’s return to the West Indies team for the one-day tour of England and says the big-hitting left-hander will bring a “quality dimension” to the Caribbean side. The talismanic Gayle was on Monday chosen in a 15-man squad, breaking a protracted impasse with the West Indies Cricket Board that saw him excluded from selection for the last 14 months. “Chris is a player of proven quality and we are looking forward to him adding this dimension to the side and his contributions as a senior member of the squad,” Butts said. The way was paved for Gayle’s return after he sat down in a high-level meeting in St Vincent on Sunday with his representative Michael Hall, WICB president Julian Hunte, WICB director Elson Crick and the Board’s legal officer Alanna Medford. St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer also attended the meeting.
Gayle, who has scored 8087 runs from 228 ODIs with 19 centuries, will now join the side led by captain Darren Sammy and which includes eight members of the current Test squad already on tour. Trinidadian opener Lendl Simmons has also been recalled following injury while Dwayne Smith has been given the nod in a one-day unit for the first time in over two years. Butts said the composition of the team reflected the continued preparation for the 2015 World Cup in Australia. “We are now beginning to move into the next phase of the development of the team as we continue to build our ODI side as we continue to plan for the 2015 World Cup,” Butts pointed out. “A number of players who we have been exposed to international cricket and who, by their recent performances, have shown that they can play roles in the team have been retained.” “There is, what we believe, a balanced combination of young rising players like Sunil Narine in the bowling department and Johnson Charles in the top order of the batting in addition to the well-known-seasoned internationals.” West Indies face England in three ODIs from June 16-24. (CMC)