An appreciation of Chris Gayle – a parallel universe within the West Indies!
An appreciation of Chris Gayle: The last T20I that anyone saw Chris Gayle in was back in November of 2021. He took just nine deliveries to score 15, but in the end it wasn’t enough as Australia walked over his Windies in the World Cup.
The Windies were on their way out of a campaign, where their brand of cricket was as disappointing as the dot balls consumed by a premier batsman in the death overs of an inning.
Yet, Chris Gayle kept his cool and seemed unfazed.
The first T20I that Chris Gayle played was fifteen years back in the day against New Zealand at Auckland (2006). Gayle, obviously then a newcomer, made just 10 off twelve deliveries.
The game was tied.
Yet, Chris Gayle kept his cool and seemed unfazed.
In between his whirlwind T20I career that has birthed two centuries, fourteen fifties and his just 101 away from the 2,000-run mark, Gayle’s fired well over 17,000 runs in ODI and Tests combined.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg; the lanky Jamaican we recognize for being a T20 powerhouse has appeared in 404 international appearances for the West Indies, which includes 301 ODI’s.
From these, he’s smashed-not struck- 2 Test triple tons. Rohit, Virat, Kohli, Smith, Williamson and de Villiers have none. Let that sink in.
And yet, despite the tag of greatness resting never with him but, often solely- and exclusively- with these outstanding names, Gayle has remained unfazed.
That’s when Gayle has presided over a career that’s spanned 22 years, as on date. That’s when Gayle has overcome heart problems and persisted with the sport without which we can’t imagine him and lest it is forgotten, a sport that would be poorer without him.
But do you know what? Gayle couldn’t care any less.
He’s not one to fall into the trap of sobriquets. He’s not the one to be determined by forces of nature; for he is one himself.
The Gayleforce, the carnage creator and bowler wrecker who’s smashed bowlers to the smithereens, whether Shoaib or Lee, Ajmal or Gul, Vaas or Malinga, Rabada or Morkel, Steyn or Tahir, Dernbach or Jimmy, Broad or Flintoff, Ntini or Moeein Ali! For that’s the way he’s played for over two decades and that’s the way he shall in what lies ahead.
At 43, Christopher Henry Gayle isn’t getting any younger. But if the St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots batter’s recent form is any indication, then the sixes could still get taller.
In his most recent CPL innings, Gayle, who started out in T20 – and made his name – as an opener, became a solid middle order bat. Importantly, he reminded unbeaten in each of last four innings.
The number of teams that the Kingston-born Jamaican has represented in cricket’s most loved format as on present day is equivalent to the number of trees in the Amazon wild forest. The number of sixes that the destructive left hander has hit in his West Indies career, 553 to be precise, explains just why he chose to call his life’s sojourn- six machine.
As a batsman, Gayle’s been wanted by both white ball leagues as well as modern cricket academies that understand that much like technique, power hitting too is important. At the same time, the beloved Windies marksman has been vaunted worldwide for his ability to convert the gentleman’s game into a youth-adoring paradise as cricket is seen today.
You place Gayle on any part of the cricket field and the end result is a mischievous combination of entertainment and Gayle-notoriety that has pure heart about it. Gayle wasn’t sledged and will likely never be. He can actually only be applauded, when not feared.
Gayle can only be looked up to for rising from a humble background in good old Jamaica into grafting an abode of playboy-ness and wonderment that has winners on both sides. His family that loves him endlessly, the chicks that want to have a piece of him and the colleagues – past and new- who admire him for his cricketing achievements!
Yet make no mistake; Gayle isn’t someone on whom you’d place your first or last bet to save a match. He’s neither the one whose technique could be trusted to withstand enormity of pressure, whether on a bouncy wicket or in the tricky final session of a rank turner.
Nonetheless, Chris Gayle has been Cricket’s go-to answer for an audience looking to elongate its affair with the game in a time stymied by non-stop commercials, media deals and the buck spinning hoopla. He’s gained just as much from cricket’s life-transforming streak as he’s added to it.
For all that he’s done and not been able to, the giant of the West Indies cricket must be celebrated and thanked for keeping the Caribbean spectators hooked to their seat after an icon like Lara walked into the sunset.
You and I can wax lyrical all day about how much has cricket in the Caribbean deteriorated and how the current side isn’t a patch on the giants that roamed carefree in the sixties and seventies.
But just how often do we thank Christopher Henry Gayle for his tireless contributions to the West Indies?
The young lad who entered the scene with Lara, Sarwan and Chanderpaul closer to their exit has emerged as a fatherly figure for a band of exuberant talents that include Hope, Hetmyer, Thomas, Shepherd, Odean Smith, Chase, Holder, Hosein and Mayers.
In so doing, Gayle co authored an interesting saga for WI cricket where together with his compatriot Marlon Samuels, he solidified the top order, gave strength to the Sammy-era that featured Bravo, Pollard, Narine, Badree and Russell, anchored the team as captain in Tests, played a pivotal part in 2012 and 2016 victorious T20I campaigns.
And yet, in the end, and it seems, it is finally near since he’s not been picked for the impending World Cup, hasn’t cried foul.
In fact, the more that his cult soared, the more happy go lucky and contended Gayle remained.
The true Universe Boss theory all about that despite successes or failures or (even) the enormity of both, you shouldn’t stop living, you shouldn’t stop trying.
And probably that’s the true Universe Boss theory all about that despite successes or failures or (even) the enormity of both, you shouldn’t stop living, you shouldn’t stop trying.
For in the end it’s all about creating your own universe and bossing it. Right, Mr. Christopher Henry Gayle?