Chris Gayle says the West Indies are ready for the ICC World T20 2014 challenge © Getty Images
By Kushan Sarkar
Mirpur: Mar 17, 2014
Explosive batsman Chris Gayle on Monday sounded out a warning to the rival teams ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 2014 by declaring that he can score a hundred irrespective of the conditions.
However, seconds after making the statement, the stylish left-hander contradicted himself by saying that conditions do play a role in a batsman’s performance.
“I am batsman, capable of scoring a century on any conditions and on any wicket in the world. I just want to give the team that kind of a start. It will be nice to get another hundred,” Gayle said with an air of confidence during an interaction here today.
“However it also depends on the conditions as well and how the wicket is playing,” he said as the West Indies prepare for their opening warm-up game against England in the World Twenty20.
Asked about the tremendous pressure on him to perform every time, when he goes out to bat, the Jamaican dasher it indeed was a challenge to live up to the expectations..
“It creates a lot of pressure as expectations are rising. When you actually set a trend, then people expect you to come good at all times. You have fans worldwide who want me to do well. That’s what they pay for and want to see. But it’s not going to happen all the time but when I do get a chance I try to entertain people as much as possible,” he said.
Being the defending champions has its own set of pressures but Gayle and his teammates are ready for the challenge.
“We are here to retain the title and that’s not going to be easy but we are ready for it and we are ready for the challenges. Our first priority is to make it to the last four, it’s a tough group. Everybody is looking to win the tournament.”
The superstar of T20 cricket didn’t want to attach ‘favourites tag’ with any team.
“Honestly, if you look at the teams almost everybody has a chance on paper. It’s difficult to pinpoint. It’s like six teams can win it. It’s not like there are two teams you can single out. It’s all about what’s going to happen on a particular day. Who plays better cricket on a particular day.
Every team’s Even-Stevens. This game can change quickly; it’s a tricky, game.”
Gayle agreed that missing Kieron Pollard will be a big factor during the championship but retaining 12 guys of the 2012 squad is a huge advantage for them.
“We will definitely miss Kieron Pollard. He has done wonders for us. It’s not just with his batting but his bowling as well. It is a big loss. But we are still confident and backing each other to get the job done. We have 12 guys actually here who have played in the last world cup so that’s a big plus for us.”
Ask him about improvisation, he replies in the same manner as if he is smashing the bowler for a flat six.
“It’s still bat hitting the ball. I mean players love to try out something all the time. As an individual player, you want to constantly improve. The batsman tries to manufacture a shot. The bowler tries to find a new variation.”
Freelancing in the T20 leagues across the globe has given Gayle a chance to interact with top players from other countries and that experience has certainly proved to be handy.
“It does help a lot of players. I have played in all the leagues and I am really well experienced in the format. You have a lot of inputs to share with each and everybody in the team. But you still keep learning everyday you go out there and the conditions keep changing. I am not just saying the outdoor conditions here but things can actually change,” he said.
A couple of years back, Richie Richardson had said that Chris Gayle could have walked into Clive Lloyd’s ODI team of 1970’s and 80’s.
He was a picture of modesty while answering the question.
“That’s would have been a privilege to be in the same team with Vivian Richards and Gordon Greenidge. They are legends of the game and I am nothing in their comparison. But my performance speaks for itself. It’s a great feeling to be compared with those legends.”
But the air was back when queried on when he could score the next triple century in Test cricket and he replied, “Next Test match in Jamaica. It will be my 100th Test match.”
He was also in a mood to have a laugh or two.
On spin bowling, he laughs out loud. “I am the best spinner on the world. I know you guys have not seen me for sometime but I have a secret weapon you know!?
“I can be called upon at a tricky situation to come and break a partnership. [Jokes] I have a secret weapon you know?
Can three formats of the game co-exist and he said with a straight face, “I think we can have a fourth format — The Masters tournament. The likes of KP [Kevin Pietersen] can play in it.”
He used to break into impromptu Gangnam jig during the last World T20 in Sri Lanka whenever an opposition wicket fell.
“I have learnt a new style and you will see it on television in a couple of days’ time,” Gayle said.