Gayle wants to win back pride
Chris Gayle is aiming to bounce back from his troubles on and off the pitch to stamp his authority on the one-day series against England.
The colourful West Indies captain was earmarked as one of the tourists' key players during their recent 3-0 Test series defeat, yet failed to perform and scored only one half-century in the series.
Since then he has split the West Indies' selection panel, who disagreed about his appointment as captain, and has criticised the West Indies Cricket Board for their lack of organisation.
But despite the various distractions, Gayle is determined to make his mark when he leads out West Indies for the first of two back-to-back NatWest Twenty20 internationals at the Oval against England later today.
"It is case of the team regaining their pride after the Test series," confirmed 27-year-old Gayle. "There is a lot of pride to gain - we're going to take nothing for granted.
"It hasn't been the best summer for me as an individual, not scoring any runs at all and as a senior player as well so I have to put that right and grasp the opportunity to stay in the middle a bit longer.
"If I can lead from the front it will be much easier for the rest of the guys."
After the last few weeks of wrangling away from the cricket, there are some who believe Gayle's focus may have been distracted away from the rough and tumble of Twenty20 cricket.
But Gayle, ranked 16 in the world one-day batting rankings, stressed: "I'm in the right frame of mind.
"I have been in tougher situations than this before and I have dug myself out of it and I am just looking forward to contributing to the team."
Asked whether the recent events could pull the team together, Gayle said: "Definitely. That is something we have had discussions about.
"We've had team meetings and discussed trying to put the negatives aside and try and plan how we are going to compete against England.
"It would be much easier for us to start on a winning note and this game can really set up the rest of the series for us and we want to grab that opportunity and make the most of it - it will be a motivational factor for us."
He added: "This is crunch time. This has been a real challenge to deal with, everything happening at one time, but as you go on in life things are going to get tougher."
West Indies go into today's game with a clean bill of health although all-rounder Dwayne Bravo will not be able to bowl after failing to recover from the ankle injury which plagued him during the final two Tests at Old Trafford and Chester-le-Street.