Chris Gayle has been portrayed as a mercenary responsible for the West Indies’ current malaise, but the ex-captain insists it was injury that sidelined him from the current Test series.
Gayle had back surgery earlier this year, having managed the issue throughout the latter part of his cricket career.
The 36-year-old expects he’ll be fit enough to play every Big Bash League game for the Melbourne Renegades this season.
He was sorely missed in Hobart, where Australia belted the West Indies by an innings and 212 runs.
Gayle hasn’t played Test cricket since 2014 but was adamant on Tuesday he wanted to put the whites on again.
“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens on Boxing Day. I’ve got a white shirt in case I’m needed. I’ll ask the Renegades,” he grinned.
“There’s no way I could have actually been part of that Test team (in Hobart), I’m just coming back off injury.
“I haven’t retired from the game.
“Next year hopefully Test cricket is on the agenda.”
Gayle’s comments came as criticism continued to pour in about the tourists’ inept performance at Bellerive and their board’s shambolic state.
Pace icon Michael Holding told Fairfax Media the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) was “dysfunctional, untrustworthy and not liked by the employees”.
Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke suggested a full-strength Caribbean outfit would make for a much tighter series.
“What I find a little bit disappointing is that we’ve got some really good West Indian players in our country at the moment, but they are playing in the BBL and not playing for their country,” Clarke told AAP.
“It’s really important for the ICC and the West Indies Cricket Board to have a look at that and try and fix it ASAP.”
Gayle was reluctant to criticise the WICB, going so far as to say he was unaware of any criticism of the board.
Gayle also leapt to the defence of his younger teammates, who were outclassed in every facet of the game in Hobart.
“If you want to bash the cricket, you bash me basically,” he said.
“It’s a young team, so we have to definitely give it time rather than be so harsh on West Indies cricket all the time.
“You have to give us time … it won’t happen overnight.”
Gayle conceded the match in Hobart was a stark reminder of how the mighty had fallen.
“It kind of reminded me how we used to be dominant against Australia and it’s vice versa now,” he said.
“Fingers crossed they can actually turn the tables.”
Regarding his own fitness, Gayle admitted it was a work in progress after returning to the park during the Bangladesh Premier League.
“I haven’t batted for such a long time. I scored 92 in a game and the next day felt like I’d been hit by a bus,” he said.
“The body will actually take time to build up gradually.”