Chris Gayle, who last featured in an ODI in July  this year against Bangladesh, scored 73 runs. @ AFP
Chris Gayle, who last featured in an ODI in July this year against Bangladesh, scored 73 runs. @ AFP

Chris Gayle opted out of the upcoming ODI and T20I series against India citing ‘personal reasons’, a move West Indies captain Jason Holder believes could be beneficial for the team ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

“I think he’s one of the most entertaining players in the world, but his absence gives another player an opportunity. We have a limited time leading up to the World Cup and it’s a good option to see what we have in the tank,” Holder said on Wednesday.

However, Holder made it clear that the 39-year-old Gayle, who’s absence from the West Indies team raised eyebrows considering the southpaw will be participating in the inaugural Afghanistan Premier League (APL) that kicks off from Friday, will definitely play the World Cup if he’s fit.

“He (Gayle) is definitely going to play the World Cup once his body holds up and he’s fit. We’d welcome him into the team. If you go back to the beginning of the year, Chris made himself available for the World Cup qualifiers. He only did that really because he wants to play the World Cup, he wants to play well for West Indies and he wants to do well,” Holder said.

Gayle, who last featured in an ODI this year against Bangladesh (he scored 73 runs, but Bangladesh won by 18 runs), has been at the wrong end of criticism when it comes to his choice of playing for club over country.

“Not worried. Chris is an all-star and I think it’s clear he’s probably at the back end of his career now. He’s probably tapering off a bit. I just saw him play his last List A game for Jamaica, scoring a hundred against my home team, which is great to see. I enjoy having Chris around,” he said.