While there was no news of Gayle being available for the clash against the Proteas, it was clear that he was given permission to sit out while South Africa skipper, AB de Villiers said Gayle was often missing from the nets.
Windies skipper Jason Holder had confirmed: “In terms of Chris’s fitness, obviously he’s been struggling over the past with his back, so we’re trying to monitor him as best as we possibly can.”
De Villiers, who is a good friend of Chris Gayle and also a team-mate in the Indian Premier League, says it was not unusual for Gayle to sit out a session, joking that the left-handed explosive batsman was now too old to train every day.
De Villiers said: “He doesn’t train often. I played with him in Bangalore, and you don’t often see him in the nets.
“His body is quite old for his age (35) I think and he needs to look after himself to make sure he gets on the park for all the games.”
Of Gayle’s massive 215 against Zimbabwe, De Villiers added: “It’s not a surprise to see him bat like that.
“It’s a matter of making sure you make your plans against him. He’s a world class player and he can win games for his team in almost any situation.”
Jason Holder said that the Windies team were happy seeing Gayle back in form and added that the Jamaican was a popular member of the dressing room.
He said: “We always rally around Chris, he is one of the most jovial people in the dressing room. He brings a different atmosphere. He brings a lot of fun. He’s a big team man, and his presence is always felt in the dressing room.
“It was a really good feeling not only to see him get a hundred, but going to get a double hundred. He’s broken records, and he’s set the path in world cricket, in a sense.
“His success is crucial to our overall success. We love him, and he’s a huge member of the team for us. It’s good to have him.”