West Indies batsman Chris Gayle will miss the upcoming one-day international series against England due to a back problem.
The 34-year-old underwent precautionary scans after experiencing stiffness in his lower back following the first Twenty20 international against Ireland on Wednesday, the West Indies Cricket Board has revealed.
The WICB selection panel has called up another explosive hitter, all-rounder Dwayne Smith, in Gayle's place for the matches.
The Windies face Ireland in Jamaica today and then play three ODIs against England in Antigua.
Gayle could return for the subsequent Twenty20 internationals versus Stuart Broad’s touring party, but England’s captain on the trip understands West Indies’ reluctance to take any risks with a star player as the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh lies on the horizon.
“We know what Chris Gayle offers – he can win a game on his own,” Broad said.
“He’s been out for a little while with a hamstring/back problem and I’m sure the West Indies will be desperate to get him fit for the World Cup, so I’m sure they won’t risk him too much in the next few weeks.
“We’ve seen the damage he can do in the sub-continent and they’re defending champions as well, so they’ll be looking to go there with a full-strength side as much as they can.
“As an England side you want to test yourself against the best players in the world, and Chris Gayle is one of those, but I’m sure the West Indies will wrap him in cotton wool for a bit.”
Squad v Ireland: Dwayne Bravo (captain), Darren Bravo, Miguel Cummins, Kirk Edwards, Jason Holder, Nikita Miller, Sunil Narine, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels, Darren Sammy, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.
Squad v England: Dwayne Bravo (captain), Darren Bravo, Kirk Edwards, Jason Holder, Nikita Miller, Sunil Narine, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Marlon Samuels, Darren Sammy, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.