Chris Gayle: ‘I didn’t announce any retirement’
Chris Gayle is available for West Indies "until further notice". © AFP

Chris Gayle has denied having played his final ODI for West Indies, hours after walking off the park at Port of Spain with a raised bat to all corners of the stadium following his dismissal for 72 off 41 balls.

Once he slapped a ball from India left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed towards mid-off where Virat Kohli took a sharp catch, Gayle shook hands with the Indian team and then acknowledged the cheers from the fans with his helmet perched on his bat handle. When Gayle reached the steps of the West Indies pavilion, he was greeted by his standing team-mates.

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Adding further speculation to the third ODI between West Indies and India being his last was the fact that the back of Gayle’s jersey had the number 301 imprinted on it, in recognition of this being his 301st ODI.

Chris Gayle last ODI innings
Chris Gayle raises his bat and helmet to the crowd after getting out. © AFP

But after the game – which India won by six wickets – Gayle revealed in a video clip that he had not called time in his ODI career.

“I didn’t announce any retirement,” said the 39-year-old with a smile.

Asked if he was still available to play for West Indies, he replied: “Yeah, until further notice”.

During the post-match press conference, not aware that Gayle had told West Indies Cricket he had not retired, Kohli congratulated the Jamaican on his career.

“Chris, I would like to congratulate him for a great, great career playing for West Indies,” Kohli said. “He has done so much for West Indies cricket, and he is an icon all over the world.

“One of the nicest human beings around. That to me is his nicest quality. Everyone knows about his cricket, but I think the kind of person he is – so helpful with youngsters and so fun loving and always smiling, even in the most [high] pressure situations he is always smiling. For me Chris Gayle the person is the best part of him. The cricket everyone knows.

I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with him as a friend and get to know him as a person – he is a gem of a human being. I think he can be really proud of that firstly.”

Before the 2019 World Cup, Gayle had said that the tournament would be his last appearance. He then took a u-turn on that decision, saying that he was open to playing ODIs and Tests.

Gayle has played 298 of his 301 ODIs for West Indies. From those 298 ODIs, Gayle has 10,405 runs which is the most for a West Indies batsman.

He broke Brian Lara’s record during the second match against India, which was his 300th ODI – the most for a West Indies player.