Chris Gayle – The Universe Boss

Chris Gayle celebrates his 25th ODI hundred against England. Source: AP Photo

Chris Gayle a.k.a. “The Universe Boss” as he is called. The tall left-handed batsman hailing from the land of wood and water (Jamaica) has changed the game in terms of his dynamic power hitting. This six-hitting machine made his debut for the West Indies back in September 1999. That’s 20 years of International cricket and it is amazing how he has maintained his longevity in this sport.Standing at 6 feet 2 inches, this elegant left-hander basically stands there with his du-rag on his head under the helmet and applies minimum foot movement to smash the ball to all parts of the ground.

      Chris Gayle has always been a flamboyant, natural stroke-making batsman to watch as he relies predominantly on good hand-eye coordination.

     In the 4th ODI against England in Grenada on Wednesday February 27th 2019, he became only the second West Indian, after the great Brian Lara, to register 10,000 ODI runs. He registered his 25th ODI hundred in the process, smashing a breath-taking 162 off 97 deliveries with 14 maximums. Despite the loss, the West Indians with this man at the top of the batting order gave his team hope while chasing a mammoth 419. The tourists at the moment hold a 2-1 series lead with 1 game to go. Chris Gayle is a former West Indian captain and with that experience leading the Caribbean side for 3 years (2007-2010), he brings self-confidence and belief to a team that has been down in the dumps, especially in the ODI form of the game. Gayle’s big six-hitting ability has been missed in the team in recent times, as he has been in and out of the West Indies team due to either injury or participating in the ever so popular T20 tournaments that have mushroomed globally in the last decade or so. He is not the only batsman in World cricket to commit to the T20 form, but this was mentioned previously in my very first article written a few weeks ago.

     Chris Gayle has always been a flamboyant, natural stroke-making batsman to watch as he relies predominantly on good hand-eye coordination. At the age of 39, this hasn’t stopped him from launching those sixes out of the park, whether it is playing for the West Indies or representing his T20 teams such as St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the CPL, and Kings Eleven Punjab in the IPL just to name a few. Everybody knows Chris Gayle loves to get on with his batting as we have seen many great swashbuckling hundreds in all forms of the game (Test match cricket included). But there were times where he has played the patient game.

     In recent times, it has been obvious that Gayle looks to play cautious cricket when batting in the power-play, whether it’s ODI or T20 cricket. A prime example was his 24th hundred in the 1st ODI against England in Bridgetown Barbados on February 20th 2019. His 135 came off 129 balls, with just 3 boundaries along the ground but 12 monstrous sixes. The old Chris Gayle would have teed off from the first over of the innings, but not a 39 year old Gayle. Before registering his century, he played out 55 dot balls (meaning no runs were scored off these deliveries). In modern-day cricket, it will cost any team more often than not, compared to let’s say 15 years ago as cricket has evolved tremendously with the broad bats launching cricket balls into the sky, whether it be day or night. His mobility is not the best, as one would expect at his age. Dot balls could be converted into singles and two’s and the lack of conversion can cost a team, especially in the shorter formats of the game.

     The “Universe Boss” however made up for this in the 2nd ODI as it was evident that he clearly thought about it after the 1st ODI. He ran more singles and looked more aware of rotating strike. This must be done more frequently moving forward as the World Cup approaches in the latter part of May in the UK. In a highly successful individual career, he surely will be missed after he announced his retirement from ODI cricket after the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup. It would be nice to end his career on a high with West Indies lifting the trophy for the first time in 40 years, but I will leave that optimism for another time. For now, let’s enjoy the entertainment Chris Gayle brings to fans all over the World!

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