Another T20 trophy sealed, Chris Gayle backs Afghanistan Premier League to flourish
Chris Gayle was the APL's third-highest run-getter. (Credit: APL T20)

Having played a leading role for Balkh Legends as they were crowned winners of the inaugural Afghanistan Premier League (APL) T20 on Monday, West Indies’ veteran Chris Gayle has backed the league for success in the years ahead.

Gayle finished as the third-highest run-getter of the APL with 315 from seven innings at a strike-rate of 172.13, hitting the joint most number of sixes – 27. The title win with Legends, who defeated Kabul Zwanan by six wickets in Sharjah with Gayle top-scoring with 56 off 34 balls, was the 39-year-old’s fourth after success in the Caribbean Premier League, Bangladesh Premier League and Global T20 League.

“It’s great to be a champion – a fantastic tournament. The guys worked hard and played good cricket right through the tournament,” said Gaye. “I must commend [Mohammad] Nabi for the way he led the team. The youngsters stepped up when it counted. The overseas players played a big part as well. So overall everybody played a fantastic part to win this tournament. I’m really happy with the management staff, everybody chipped in.”

In the last four games, Gayle reeled off scores of 80, 73, 54 and 56 to help power Legends to the title. Having played plenty of T20 franchise cricket around the world, Gayle backed the APL to flourish.

“The first time the Afghanistan League was held and I’m glad I was a part of it. I must commend the organisers of the Afghanistan Premier League,” he said. “I know it is a big and quick turnaround to get the tournament done so quickly. Next year, I’m sure it can be bigger and better. I’m glad I’m a champion and looking forward to next year again.”

Gayle, who recently signed off from List A cricket with a century for Jamaica, was happy to have contributed to Legends’ successful campaign.

“Before I came here, I was playing fifty over cricket. In my last game for Jamaica, I got a century so that actually gave me some momentum to come here. They have some quality spinners in this tournament. Wickets (here are) sometimes are difficult to bat on. Once you are in good form, with the experience and you can adjust to the conditions and get runs on these sort of wickets,” he said.