Chris Gayle © Getty Images (File Photo)
West Indies hard-hitting batsman Chris Gayle has not been at his best and will be hoping he can bring back some of his old form in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. He missed the first four matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore due to an injury. In an interview with dna’s Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya, Gayle says every team stands a chance to win the IPL and in T20 anything is possible. Excerpts from the interview:
dna: How popular is football in the West Indies?
Chris Gayle (CG): Very popular! It is actually huge. It has calmed down a bit in the last couple of years. But at one point in time, when Jamaica and Trinidad qualified for the World Cup [for the 1998 and 2006 editions, respectively], it was huge for the Carribean people. They still turn up for football matches. But there should be focus at the grassroots and the authorities must ensure more kids take to the sport.
dna: Your jersey says you are rooting for Brazil in the upcoming FIFA World Cup..
CG: Yes, I have been a big fan of Brazil since childhood. I wish I could play for them. I am ready to play for them.
dna: You played quite a bit of football in your school days. Why did you quit?
CG: I played three versions of football in high school — under-14, under-16 and the highest level. But then, the intensity of the training was like, ‘Oh okay, no thanks [sticks his tongue out]‘. It was too much of running. I could not take it.
dna: You were versatile…
CG: You have seen Cristiano Ronaldo, right? He has copied my style. If you see him, that’s Chris Gayle playing. That’s how good I am [smiles].
dna: Coming back to IPL, what was your reaction when you saw Kieron Pollard hurling the cricket bat at Mitchell Starc during Tuesday’s match?
CG: My immediate reaction was go off the field, get two pairs of boxing gloves, form a ring and let a boxing match take place.
dna: Who, has the best chance to win the IPL this season?
CG: At this stage, everybody is a contender. Though there are a few teams struggling but if you see the T20 format, anyone can bounce back. We will have to wait and see who makes it to the final four. Then we will know who stands the best chance.
dna: Your take on AB de Villiers’s knock the other night…
CG: Unbelievable. He is the only person who has taken on the No. 1 bowler [Dale Steyn] and he has done it twice now. Hitting Steyn for sixes requires superhuman abilities.
dna: How is your injury now? You looked comfortable in the three matches you played this season…
CG: It (injury) is still there. I have not recovered fully but these things keep happening.
dna: You are about to play your 100th Test match against New Zealand soon. How does it feel?
CG: I have 100 more matches to catch up with Sachin Tendulkar [smiles]. It is going to be a special occasion for me because it is a home series.
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(Before joining DNA sports, Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya worked with The Hindu Business Line as a freelancer, and in front and behind the camera for Broadcast Telecast Worldwide (Kolkata). Apart from penning and editing stories, he is also a photographer and a musician. The above article has been republished with permission from DNA, where it first appeared)