Bangalore, Mar 30: West Indies' explosive opener Chris Gayle does not want to talk about what happened last year. According to him that is history and he is now looking forward to the new season of Indian Premier League.
Having ended up as the top scorer in 2011, Gayle is back in Bangalore to lead the RCB's charge towards title. Even though he did not predict what would happen with his bat in IPL 5, he feels the team knows how to win this time after having faltered at the final hurdle in the last edition.
The left-hander spoke to the media at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium as RCB continued their preparations for IPL 5.
Here are the excerpts:
Question: How does it feel to be back in Bangalore?
Chris Gayle: It’s good to be back. The hospitality here is always good. I think I’m most welcome again here. I’m looking forward to IPL 5 and hopefully I can have a better tournament than the last one.
Q: How did the negotiations go about with RCB this year?
Gayle: Everything went well. I was looking forward to coming back here. There’s no doubt about it. Eventually things worked out and we’re both happy. Hopefully we can go over that extra hurdle by winning IPL 5.
Q: Could you tell us about your talks with West Indies Cricket Board (WICB)?
Gayle: We’ve had some meetings and some good discussions. We both signed agreements. The side letter is actually no dramatic thing. Just the situation….asked a few questions and that’s about it. We’ll see what happens and get back on track but first I have to deal with the IPL. I’m available for the entire duration.
Q: You came in as a replacement player into RCB squad last year. How was it?
Gayle: Yeah, I came in as a replacement player last year. Things went well. This year I’m looking to start afresh. We have been part of such a wonderful group ..it’s always pleasing. Hopefully we can continue where we left off. It was a disappointing final but that’s history now. Hopefully we can get off to a good start and try and get to that final four and take it from there.
Q: You had a bit of problem with your groin. How is it now?
Gayle: Still a bit of a niggle. Doing some work on it. Hopefully by the next couple of days leading up to the first game I’ll be ready.
Q: There are high expectations from the fans. What do you have to say?
Gayle: The expectation is very high based on what happened last year. But last year is history and we don’t know what the future holds. I’m not a person to actually predict and say, yes I’m going to better 600 odd runs. We’ll just have to wait and see. The start is going to be crucial. I think there’s more games as well, so looking forward to that.
Q: What are your thoughts on the other teams in IPL?
Gayle: Most teams actually have a different structure in that different players have joined different teams. All the teams are well balanced. It’s not that one team is the favourite to actually win it. All teams are up for it. We’ll try and do our part, get the basic things right – the batting and the bowling. Once we get those things right, we can definitely be in the final again.
Q: How do you compare IPL with other leagues?
Gayle: It’s been good. Even though you have mostly international players in the Big Bash. The IPL is a different atmosphere compared to all those other tournaments but this is the ultimate, the IPL. You have mostly international stars available. It makes it more competitive and it’s not going to be easy for one particular team to win the championship.
Q: How disappointing was it to lose last year's two finals (IPL 4 and Champions League)?
Gayle: It was disappointing. But the good thing is we should gain some experience reaching those two finals. If we do reach that stage again, we know what to expect and we can cross the hurdle. It was a wonderful tournament based on the situation we came from to actually reaching the final. Hopefully we’ll get there again and I’m sure we know how to win it this time.
Q: How difficult is it to be away from international cricket?
Gayle: We all know what the situation was before. I’ve been out for one year now. It’s disappointing to be out of international cricket for such a long time. We just have to try and rectify it and I’ve still got more international cricket left inside of me.
Q: What are your comments on the recently concluded Australia-West Indies ODI series?
Gayle: It was a good one-day series. It was competitive. We actually should have won that series. The guys played really well. The atmosphere was good and the turnout at the games in St. Vincent and St. Lucia was extremely wonderful. Some of the guys had a reasonably good tournament – Pollard stood out with his hundred. It’s good to see someone come of age and be man of the series in the one-day series against Australia. The bowlers did their part – Narine etc. Hopefully they’ll do well in the Test series as well.
Q: What do have to say about your West Indian spinner Sunil Narine?
Gayle: Well, he’s a difficult bowler if you don’t know too much about him. I played two games against him. He’s unpredictable. He’s difficult to pick. He’s new and it’ll take a while to get accustomed to him. Wickets over here, with the ball gripping and turning, he can actually be a very handy player.