West Indies are likely to send a full-strength team to England amidst reports that leading players were threatening to boycott the tour because of a clash with the lucrative Indian Premier League.
Hours after www.cricinfo.com posted a story reporting that captain Chris Gayle was one of the five players considering withdrawing from the tour to play in the entire IPL, Gayle gave the assurance he would be in England.
‘The tour in England will definitely go ahead. I’ll be there. If everyone is fit and selected…you will have a tour for sure,’ Gayle said on Friday.
The IPL has been pushed back by a week because of a switch in venue to South Africa and the new starting date is April 18.
It will allow Gayle and fellow West Indians only a few days’ participation before joining the West Indies squad on May 1 in time for the first Test against England starting on May 6.
The other current West Indies players contracted to the IPL are Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards.
Cricinfo reported the players were angered that the tour of England was organised last October without their consultation.
The series was arranged between the boards of the two countries after the withdrawal of Sri Lanka – whose players demanded they be allowed to play in the IPL – and falls outside the Future Tours Programme.
‘To be honest with you, I don’t think we’re going to boycott anything,’ Gayle said.
‘We have an understanding with each other–the team, players, WIPA and the board. There is some sort of change, some sort of communication going on.
‘Things are looking pretty good. I’m sure everyone will benefit at the outcome and the cricket can actually go on rather than go into a dispute again.’
The IPL has the blessing of the International Cricket Council and international players require a No-Objection Certificate from their respective boards to participate.
Gayle revealed the West Indies Cricket Board was prepared to issue the players with NOCs for a two-week period.
Gayle added: ‘I’m very much happy in the way that everybody is sticking together. You can actually see it in our game as well.
‘It’s good to see that bond. Unity is strength. Once we have that sort of unity, we can counter any opponent. We’re looking good. I can’t guarantee…other players might go separate ways, but for now, things are looking really good.’