Injured Chris Gayle to return home, Kraigg Brathwaite in for NZ series

Visakhapatnam: Chris Gayle, who had sustained a hamstring injury, will return home for rehabilitation as the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) today said that the explosive opener would miss out on their subsequent series, a three-Test rubber against New Zealand.

No player has been substituted for Gayle in the 15-member squad for the last two ODIs in India, but the West Indies selectors identified Kraigg Brathwaite to take his place for the Tests in New Zealand, starting next month.

West Indies team physiotherapist C J Clark confirmed that Gayle tore his hamstring during the first ODI on Thursday at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi.

"Chris will need three to four weeks to recover from this injury, and he is returning to the Caribbean for injury management and subsequent physical rehabilitation," Clark said today.
"He will be assessed continuously over the period with a view for him to be fit for the five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals in New Zealand."

West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson said losing Gayle was a major setback for the side in their quest to try and remain competitive in the remaining two ODIs against India.

"He (Gayle) is our best batsman in this format," said Gibson.

"He is one of the senior players in the team and one of the players that know Indian conditions quite well. But I will always try to look at the positive and it gives an opportunity for somebody else to make a name for himself."

The 20-year-old Brathwaite previously played nine Tests between his debut in May 2011 and the final Test of the home series against Australia in April last year.

He has scored 363 runs at an average of 21.35, but is highly regarded due to his sound temperament.

Brathwaite was the most successful batsman on the recent West Indies `A` team`s trip to India, where he scored 334 runs from six innings at an average of 66.80. It included an undefeated 104 in the second unofficial Test at Shimoga.

"He had a reasonable start to his international career and is the one out of the young players that have come into the side in recent times that has batted plenty of balls in Tests," Gibson said.

"He did not get the big hundreds like some of the others, but he is someone that occupies the crease very well, which is pretty much what is required for our team. Hopefully, he gets to New Zealand as quickly as possible and is available to play in the first Test," the coach said.

Gayle`s unavailability for the Tests in New Zealand means that he will have to wait until, possibly, the return series against New Zealand next year in the Caribbean to appear in his 100th Test for West Indies.