Windies' Gentle Gayle Force

Published: Monday, June 18, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Gentle Force! An oxymoron for sure but when you attach it to the enigmatic, soft spoken Chris Gayle of the West Indies, you will see that it best describes him. Gentle off the field and on the field with the willow in his hand - a tremendous force to reckon with. Given that change has been a constant in the West Indian team, Chris Gayle has been a feature that has been more constant than changed!!

Known as 'Verucci' ( a combination of Versace and Gucci) for he loves to be fashionable, Chris is not your everyday cricketer. This left handed batsman has a certain way that can only be best described as - the Gayle way. On a purely cricketing stage, when Gayle is in form, you can just sit back and watch the red cherry being smashed, and bludgeoned to the boundary, or rather way above the boundary. In 2006, Gayle was third in the list of the highest number of 6s hit in the shorter version of the game. He had as many as 24 sixers , four less than the most number hit by that Sri Lankan explosive device - Sanath Jayasuriya. So this would give you a fair idea just as to how powerful he is. Interestingly along with Sanath Jayasuriya and Brian Lara he is the only player in One Day International history to have 3 or more scores of 150. The one day format is always a great way to gauge the sheer destructive talent of a batsman purely due to the nature of the game. But bad form can show loud and clear as one expects you to always bamboozle the opposition bowling. The recently concluded world cup was one stage where Chris Gayle did not show his brutal force, quite simply, because he was out of form. In a lackluster performance the only one to write home about was the 79 runs scored off only 58 balls against England in the Super 8s stage.

In the Test arena, which really is the true test of a cricketers caliber, Chris Gayle has a batting average of 38.25 in the 67 matches that he has played. Closing in on the 4500 runs mark, currently he has 4399 runs with seven centuries and 26, fifties. No ordinary batsman, Gayle has a whopping 317 as his highest Test score and his off spin talent has earned him 58 wickets with five-wicket haul on two occasions.

Literally this Gayle is a force to reckon with! Being an opening batsman is not an easy task. You must have the grit and the heroism of being able to face a shining red ball that comes to you at speeds that come close to the 100 mph mark! Chris Gayle has both the grit and determination, and just needs to find his immaculate form, to terrorise bowlers from across the world. !!

This Jamaican Batting wonder, has a certain swagger in his step and when he looks you in the eye, you cannot but help notice the fixed focus. You cannot help but look up to the 6' 2" frame quite literally. Every batsman would notice the tall figure crouching in the slips to snap up anything that comes his way, and his clever off spin bowling, unsettles in-form batsmen, earning himself the name of partnership breaker!

If one were to get up close and personal with Gayle you would find out that he loves cartoons and is a huge fan of Tom and Jerry. He digs reggae and R&B but anything thats music will get this man moving to the beat. There is no one in the opposition that he fears for he takes each match as it comes and backs himself to the hilt. But the one man he has admired and enjoyed being a teammate with, is the legendary Brian Lara.

Known for his sense of humour, Chris Gayle is an element that the West Indies team will always want in their equation. The latest role that he would be required to play is that of the captain, for he has been appointed skipper for the three one- dayers and two Twenty20s against England. Given that the team had a very ordinary Test match performance one will be waiting to see whether this gentle Gayle will blow hot or cold leading from the front. !!

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