Evin Lewis scored 97* © Getty Images
Evin Lewis scored 97* © Getty Images

It is a tough task to overshadow Chris Gayle while batting in the shortest format of cricket, but that is exactly what happened as Evin Lewis batted for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (SKNP) against Barbados Tridents. It was as if Gayle, the self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’, took a step back with his 14-ball 22 not out as Lewis destructed the opponent’s bowling with his unbeaten 32-ball 97. However, Lewis credits his childhood hero Gayle for his knock, as the latter rotated strike and gave more to Lewis to play. READ: Evin Lewis’ whirlwind knock powers St Kitts and Nevis Patriots to 10-wicket win over Barbados Tridents

When told he overshadowed Gayle in the match, Lewis told ESPNCricinfo, “Yeah, yeah he told me the same thing. As I was striking the ball cleanly, he tried his best to give me the strike as much as possible. That’s something I feel really thankful for. Normally when a guy sees you going after the bowling he’ll try and go after the bowling too, but it was different with Chris.”

Called within his close circle as the next Chris Gayle, Lewis had earlier replaced Gayle for the second T20I against India in USA. “The coach came up to me that morning and said ‘Chris is out, you’re in’. I was so nervous but I said ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ So I just went out, was positive and got a good start. I felt free and started to hit the ball very cleanly,”Lewis, who scored a 49-ball 100 in the match, said about the memorable innings.

“Everybody keeps calling me the young Chris Gayle,” he chuckled. “I think I’m similar to how he bats. We work on a regular basis – almost every time together in the nets. He keeps talking to me, telling me to keep being myself, keep being positive, and keep doing my thing. In the wicket it’s the same – he always tells me to keep my shape when I go after the bowling. He’s a guy who’s really helped me in my cricket so far,” says Lewis.

He also spoke about idolising fellow Trinidadian Brian Lara and Gayle during his younger days.

“Growing up, you don’t really have most of the technique, and most of the knowledge about cricket. Once you see the ball you just swing as hard as possible to see how far you can hit the ball. It just happens. I have a special talent in me to hit sixes, so I just keep working on it every time I go out to bat, try and work on my strengths and also my weaknesses,” he added.