London: Hailing the IPL as a top-class tournament, hard-hitting West Indian batsman Chris Gayle has credited the cash-rich Twenty20 annual event for Indian cricket's rise in different formats of the game.
Gayle, who played a big part for Royal Challengers Bangalore reaching the play-offs in season 8, believes that the tournament has really been the shot in the arm for many a young cricketer. "Look at Indian cricket at the moment. They are dominating all forms of the game now and the reason is the IPL," Gayle was quoted as saying on telegraph.co.uk.
"The players touch shoulders with their international opponents. They share the same dressing rooms. They know what they are thinking. Then they become bolder performing for their countries. That is because of IPL and it is fantastic," he added. Fulfilling his county commitment for Somerset before heading off to the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Gayle, 35, has urged the English management to allow its players to participate in T20 leagues around the world.
"It might be difficult for your guys to go away and play in the T20 format ¿ but they just need to free up their cricket a bit; it's as simple as that," the destructive left-hand opener said. Friends with Kevin Pietersen, Gayle believes that England are missing a fine batsman in not utilising KP's services.
"He should be playing for England, there are no two ways about it," he said. "They (the ECB) must have their reasons but we would love to see your best player in action, out in the middle, entertaining. It doesn't matter what format - Test, 50-over, Twenty20 - he's a class player. "One of the best players England has ever produced. But it's your loss. KP is looking forward to the CPL. England don't want him? We will take him. He will entertain the fans.
We will make some sales off him, sell some tickets. It should be fantastic. The CPL is going to be one big party," he added. Sans the swashbuckling Pietersen, Gayle definitely backs Australia in the upcoming Ashes. "Australia are definitely the favourites. For sure. But we'll see. I think the first Test will set the tone and decide the series. England are always strong at home but they need to be adventurous and aggressive. That is what cricket is about now," he said.