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‘Kevin sacking disrespectful’

Bridgetown: There was a time when Chris Gayle might have offered Kevin Pietersen a blueprint for the wandering life of a T20 buccaneer but on Friday he urged the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to reinstate Pietersen after describing its sacking of the player as disrespectful.

“I’m disappointed by the manner he had to bow out of international cricket,” Gayle said. “It’s disrespectful the way he had to go. I’m sure Pietersen is playing against us on Sunday. He’s going to replace Joe Root. He’s just waiting on a phone call. I hope the ECB will pick up the phone and give KP a call, and he’ll be here on Sunday playing in this game.”

The West Indies face England in the first of three T20s on Sunday. It is wishful thinking from Gayle, who said he had swapped texts with Pietersen to sympathise about the latter’s situation.

Yet his empathy probably comes more from identifying the plight of a fellow agent provocateur rather than any intimate chats the pair might have had since Pietersen’s severance deal a month ago.

“I don’t know what happened behind closed doors but for such a big player to actually go out like that — who has made such a big impact around the world — it’s really sad,” Gayle said.

Perhaps Gayle really does believe all schisms can be mended. A few years ago, he spent a year not playing for the West Indies after being in dispute with the board.

At one stage he even claimed he did not like Test cricket but both issues appear to have been resolved.

“It has been difficult for KP,” said Gayle, who has signed a central contract for the first time in three years.

“I sat out for a year and then things worked out and we’re all getting along well. I’m keen to play all three formats for the West Indies.

Related report: Page 18