Chris Gayle has criticised those who are labelling cricketers as Twenty20 mercenaries, warning that such tags are harming players' reputations.

Gayle has received a lot of criticism in his career for choosing to ply his trade in T20 tournaments globally ahead of playing for his country.

We had to travel the world on tour and play away from our family for so long, but we had to do it and now some players can make what we did in a lifetime in just one or two T20 tournaments.

Desmond Haynes, Barbados Tridents coach

"I've had a lot said about me in the past and it's hurtful, by my own fans in the Caribbean and sometimes by others," Gayle said. "But they need to know that it's always a cricketer's dream to wear his international colours and that term 'mercenary' will hurt cricket."

The big-hitting Jamaican goes onto explain that the financially-lucrative T20 tournaments also provide players with vital experience that they can take into international tournaments.

"T20 is a good way of earning extra income to secure your future and your family which many people don't get. In 2012 We won the World T20 and so many players like myself, [Dwayne] Bravo and Sunil Narine gained from our IPL experiences."

Gayle's view was backed by former West Indies opener Desmond Haynes who coached Barbados Tridents in last year's Caribbean Premier League.

"We had to travel the world and play away from our family for so long, but we had to do it and now some players can make what we did in a lifetime in just one or two T20 tournaments."

Gayle, 34, has targeted at least another couple of years at Test level and insists his drive to represent West Indies remains strong but added 'the T20 label keeps sticking to me' before drawing again on the case of his friend Kevin Pietersen.

"The game has changed and there's a lot of cricket being played so T20s do clash with tours. Maybe it's all about proper T20 windows, who knows? But I'm sure if England called KP up now he'd jump at the chance to play for his country."

Source: Al Jazeera