West Indies cricket greats in explosive war of words

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Chris Gayle, left, was furious after criticism from Curtly Ambrose, right.
Chris Gayle launched into Curtly Ambrose after the West Indies bowling great suggested Gayle wasn't a lock for the T20 World Cup team. Pictures: Getty Images

West Indian batsman Chris Gayle has lashed out at fellow cricketing great Curtly Ambrose in a bitter war of words about the nation's team for upcoming T20 World Cup.

Widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent T20 batsmen, Gayle has nevertheless entered the twilight of his cricketing career.

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That hasn't affected the 42-year-old's confidence one bit, as he showed no hesitation lashing out at Ambrose after the fast-bowling legend suggested Gayle wasn't an automatic lock for the West Indies' side.

Ambrose was memorably dedicated to staying out of cricket commentary and often refused to give his opinion on the sport, but his recent hiring as a pundit on radio on Barbados.

After recent returns from Gayle in the Caribbean Premier League and just two matches for Punjab in the IPL, Ambrose suggested Gayle's best days were past him.

“For me, Gayle is definitely not an automatic choice to start," Ambrose said.

“When you look at his exploits over the last 18 months, he has struggled not only for the West Indies but other T20 franchises.”

Ambrose added that he believed Gayle could 'still be destructive' - but was still unimpressed by his recent form.

While most wouldn't have considered the criticism to be overly controversial, Gayle took it upon himself to reply in his own radio appearance.

Referring to himself in the third person at times, Gayle said he was disappointed that Ambrose, who he said he respected when he began his own international career, was criticising him for attention.

Adding that he had 'no respect' for the West Indies legend, Gayle told The Island Tea Morning Show in St Kitts he was 'singling out' Ambrose.

"I highly respected him when I came into the West Indies team. I looked up to this man," Gayle said.

“But I am now speaking from my heart. I don’t know what, since he retired, he has 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.

“And you can let him know that Chris Gayle, the Universe Boss, has no respect for Curtly Ambrose whatsoever.

“I am finished with Curtly Ambrose. I have no respect."

Chris Gayle launches stunning attack on Curtly Ambrose

Gayle wasn't done there though.

He said questioning his place on the West Indies team amounted to an act of negativity which threatened to bring the whole team down, saying Ambrose ought to 'pull his socks up'.

“Any time I see him, I will tell him, ‘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?”

Chris Gayle kneels prior to a cricket match for the West Indies.
Chris Gayle said he has 'no respect' for fellow West Indies great Curtly Ambrose. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Gayle argued the West Indies' dominant record at the T20 World Cup - having won the tournament twice before - showed there should have been cause for optimism.

“We have won the tournament twice and we will be going for the third title," he said.

“I am not going to take anything from any senior player.

“Curtly Ambrose – pull your socks up, alright? Support the West Indies – OK?”

Despite Gayle's bravado, it's hard not to see the point Ambrose was making.

In 16 T20 internationals this year, Gayle has made only 227 runs, surpassing 50 just once.

His average of just over 17 is uninspiring, while his strike rate has dropped to 117 from highs up to 140 during his prime.

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