Chris Gayle Biography
To pen down the aura of Chris Gayle in a few words is no easy task. A larger-than-life figure on and off the field, the Jamaican never ceases to amaze. The arrival of T20s has magnified the legend of Gayle to an extent that people tend to forget that he is one of only four batsmen to have two triple-tons in Test cricket. History will probably remember him for his remarkable feats in the shortest format, where he has ruled the world with the mastery of his willow, but his Test numbers are also enviable.
Gayle had a relatively quiet start to his international career, but he established himself at the top in both Tests and ODIs. His aggressive streak was evident and he fit into the Virender Sehwag and Matthew Hayden school of batting. He has been unstoppable on his day, smashing hapless bowlers — it never mattered whether they bowled pace or spin — around the park with ease.
Gayle built a niche for himself in international cricket: if got in the zone, the ball usually disappeared. As if that was not enough, he added to his repertoire flattish off-breaks bowled off an economic run-up. They not only made him a formidable limited-overs all-rounder, but also earned him two Test five-fors.
He hit his first triple ton against South Africa in 2005 — an innings that showed he could be destructive over a sustained period of time. In 2006, his remarkable consistency in the ICC Champions Trophy took West Indies to the final. However, Gayle’s era coincided with the fall of West Indies cricket, with them searching for consistency.
Appointed captain in 2007-08, Gayle showed good leadership skills, leading West Indies to their maiden Test victory in South Africa and a home series victory against England in 2009. Dismissed in favour of Darren Sammy in 2010-11, Gayle duly responded with his second triple ton — in Sri Lanka. Following the 2011 World Cup debacle, the standoff between Gayle and WICB intensified, and he was exiled to T20 leagues.
There began the phase where Gayle rewrote the T20 record books. He has been belligerent in RCB colours, and no knock was more memorable than the historic 175 not out against PWI in 2013, during which he raced to his ton in a mere 30 balls. With the standoff between him and the WICB ending in 2012, he returned to the side and delivered with crucial performances during their victorious campaign at ICC World T20 2012.
Gayle brings the West Indian flavour to the game is one of its most popular characters. Though generally a laidback character, he does not shy from the occasional altercation. In 2015, he stood up for his teammates Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard after they were dropped from the World Cup squad. He went on to become the first man to score a World Cup double century, though his feat was bettered mere days later by Martin Guptill.
Nishad Pai Vaidya