A trademark innings from Chris Gayle in last nights IPL clash against the Gujarat Lions marked a momentous occasion for the big-hitting West Indian, becoming the first ever player to score 10,000 runs in T20 cricket.
There’s not one twenty20 franchise in the world that wouldn’t like to have Chris Gayle promoting it, he’s shown the world of cricket time-and-time again that his sheer-brilliance and effortless hitting brings people through the gates hoping to catch a glimpse of Gayle-force striking. Lets take nothing away from his International career in test and ODI cricket, those two formats were a big part of why Chris Gayle is the dominant figure he is today. A clear indication of that is the reasoning behind his IPL number on the back of his jersey, 333 – Gayle’s highest test score against Sri Lanka in 2010. A very successful International career is finally winding up, probably playing test cricket for the last time in 2014 and hasn’t played an ODI since the World Cup in 2015 which might have been the final curtain call, although Gayle himself has stated that he hasn’t retired from any format which is great news for cricket enthusiasts.
While Gayle is still a huge part of the West Indies T20 setup, he’s expanded his playing capacity around the world since 2005 which has seen the 37-year-old represent 18 different teams in domestic T20 competitions. When you look at his T20 record, it’s not hard to see why he’s getting paid the big bucks with an astounding 18 centuries to his name along with 61 fifties. Gayle is truly a bowlers worst nightmare, even if you can get on top of him with a couple dot balls he has the ability to hit you into the stands the very next ball. He makes six hitting look effortless and hits the ball so sweetly, making him the most damaging batsman in T20 cricket today. The amount of preparation Gayle has put into his game since starting his career in the spotlight must be ridiculous, you can see that he has an eye like a hawk when he lines up bowlers and cracks them over the fence at breakneck speed. If you asked Chris himself, he’d probably tell you that there have been more fails than successes which is usually the case for batsmen in T20 cricket, but his successes have been so outstanding that you tend to forget about the countless fails, more so the mind blowing knocks that had the bowlers in tears by the end of the innings.
Some see him as a lazy cricketer that possesses a far to laid back attitude in a professional sport, but until you get to know the man himself and have watched him countless times out in the middle, you won’t have a clue about how Chris Gayle approaches cricket. To me, Chris Gayle brings an element of ‘swag’ to the middle as well as in the field, it’s that typical West Indian-coolness that speaks volumes when you’re witnessing a cheeky grin back at the bowler, that’s just the type of personality he has. Another thing Gayle is criticized a lot for is his running, and that’s an absolute disgrace given he’s had numerous back problems that have kept him out of the game for years now, but thankfully he’s been able to play with them and still produce scintillating batting displays in the process.
Another trademark of Chris Gayle’s which should be familiar to many Indian supporters is his ‘stand in the middle of the pitch routine’. The West Indian opener will strut to the middle of the pitch, get in his stance and simulate the bowler coming down to him and play some shots, it’s a unique approach that has served him well since. Taking a look on Gayle’s T20 career so far, it’s been a journey that is worth documenting one day and he’s delivered on all fronts for his 18 respected teams he’s represented. From that memorable 175 not out against the Pune Warriors in Bangalore in 2013, to the 2016 ‘don’t blush baby’ antics for the Melbourne Renegades that was blown way out of proportion, It’s a reflection of how dominant and influential Chris Gayle has been for the game of T20 cricket, and the good spirit he’s played the game in which brings us to the conclusion of this article.
We don’t know what the future holds for Chris, but he’s been a pleasure to watch for the past decade in T20 cricket and it’s great to see the big West Indian become the very first cricketer to reach 10,000 runs in this format, a big congratulations!