19 Nov 2009

Windies hit by Gayle's forced departure

7:03 am on 19 November 2009

The West Indies cricketers' tour of Australia has got off to a disastrous start with captain Chris Gayle flying home to be at his mother's bedside and his batsmen immediately faltering in his absence.

The swashbuckling opener withdrew from the match against Queensland just an hour before the toss when news filtered through his mother was gravely ill and had been admitted to hospital in Jamaica.

Gayle is now is in serious doubt for the opening Test starting next Thursday at the Gabba, and possibly for the rest of the series.

If he doesn't return they'll lose their most intimidating batsman and one of just two specialist openers.

West Indies made 271 against a third-string Queensland attack after stand-in skipper Denesh Ramdin won the toss and batted in the four-day tour match.