‘Legend’ Chris Gayle is ‘priceless’ for West Indies: Darren Bravo
Chris Gayle needs 143 runs to reach 10,000 in ODIs. © AFP

Darren Bravo has hailed Chris Gayle as “a legend” and “priceless” following the West Indies veteran’s scores of 135 and 50 in the opening two ODIs versus England in Barbados.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the third ODI on Wednesday – which will be his 100th – Bravo saluted Gayle for his durability at 39 while acknowledging that his slowness between the wickets was a problem at times. (READ: Gayle breaks Afridi’s record for most sixes in international cricket)

“He’s definitely a hero to the young players,” Bravo said. “Not even a hero; he’s a legend.

“The experience of having Chris in the dressing room is priceless. He puts a smile on each and every player’s face. And, as you can see when we go out there, we really enjoy our cricket.cIf you look at the stats, he’s achieved a lot at international level. He’s a special player. We’re really happy to have him.”

Gayle will bow out of ODIs after the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. He needs 143 runs to become the second West Indian to 10,000 runs in ODIs – Brian Lara is the only so far – and while he remains a dominating force in T20 franchise cricket, his mobility in one-dayers has been questioned.

His power enables Gayle to make up for slow starts, such as the opening ODI when he overcame a dour beginning to get a run-a-ball century, and Bravo defended his team-mate. (READ: West Indies seek consistency, England target improvement)

“He’s getting on a bit in age but he’s still striking the ball nicely so that is the most important thing. And in the dressing room he’s always giving information. He’s helping all the youngsters,” he said. “I think over the last few years he’s changed the game a little bit. He’s not going so hard as before. He understands his game pretty well. As long as it all goes well, as long as his approach is concerned, I don’t see any reason we can’t consistently cross the 300 mark.”

Asked if it gets frustrating batting with Gayle, Bravo said: “At times. There are obvious singles that he may not take as he’s probably getting a little slow. But having him at the other end … he can make up. He can hit two sixes in the next over and make up for the single that was deprived from the other batter.

“I don’t want to get too negative: so far he’s been our highest run-scorer. He’s been tremendous and I want to wish him all the best.”

The five-match series is locked at 1-1.