In T20 cricket, they don’t come better than Chris Gayle. The man, who shattered a number of T20 records with an unbeaten 175 for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Pune Warriors India on April 23, is not just about going bang-bang.
In fact, what has made him really dangerous in the past couple of seasons is his ability to bat for 15-20 overs, take his time, and still score at a strike-rate that is well in excess of 100.
For a man who has two Test triple tons to his name, for sure, Gayle’s batting has much more to it than just seeing the ball and smacking it into the stands. The West Indian, one of the biggest crowd pullers in the Pepsi IPL, has an advice for young budding cricketers who look upto him. “Don’t try to bat like Chris Gayle. It’s not easy to bat like Gayle.
“When you are starting, it’s important to work on your basics. It’s crucial to get the basics right, and then you can build on that base. To bat like Gayle, it needs a lot of hard work.”
No doubt, it’s hard work to bat like Gayle. And it’s even harder work to bowl at Gayle, when he is in the kind of form that he was against Pune during his record innings. “It just was my day. I just felt good about myself that day. During the rain break (after second over), I told Ravi (Rampaul) that it’s a good wicket. I was thinking about a team total of 180, but ended up scoring 175 myself. “Every cricketer has his days, I am just happy that I capitalised on mine,” he added.
It clearly was one of those days in Bangalore when Gayle went after the bowling right from the word go, something that he doesn’t do very often these days. “Patience has its importance even in T20 cricket. I like to play myself in, in certain conditions, on certain pitches,” the West Indian left-hander, who donated a bat and his World Cup T20 T-shirt to Blades of Glory, a cricket museum in Pune, explained.