If the game of cricket ever needed an entertainer to rescue it from anonymity, Chris Gayle could well be it. Such has been his charisma that fans throng to stadiums at the mere mention of the southpaw. It’s hard to imagine a T20 tournament today without the swashbuckling Jamaican setting the stage on fire and smashing bowlers all over the park.
Although he has not featured in the West Indies Test and ODI squad for quite some time now due to the increasing problems between the West Indies Cricket Board and the players, he has kept himself busy with appearances in T-20 leagues across the world.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda ahead of the USL – Diageo’s Road to Safety campaign, Gayle opened up on the various T-20 leagues he plays, the IPL, his family and more.
“Playing in so many leagues – Oh it’s so very hectic. We players have to go through a lot of trouble to travel to so many countries but its good fun at the end of it. Of course, we tend to feel the strain at times, but it’s still a lot of fun. The fans want this and they look forward to these leagues for the entertainment it provides so I like to provide them with that. I also want to be fit so I constantly keep playing these tournaments throughout the year,” he said.
With the increasing number of leagues he plays in, Gayle has been exposed to many different bowlers on various types of pitches. Speaking about adapting to the different leagues, here is what Gayle had to say: “I’ve been in many leagues and there are so many new faces and so many different types of bowlers so I feel that I am been able to tackle all the bowlers well now. Also, the T-20 the pitches are suited to the batsmen so it’s really not as hard to face any bowler today,” said Gayle.
The enigmatic personality that he is, Gayle has had his fair share of controversies throughout his career. Last year in the Big Bash League, he was on the radar for making a ‘disrespectful’ comment towards a female host during a match. After the entire hullabaloo last year, Gayle decided to give the BBL a miss this year. While his fans felt that last year’s controversy was the reason for him missing it this year, Gayle insisted that he had no interest in playing it.
“The reason I’m not taking part this year is mainly due to family reasons and also I’m just not interested in playing it this year. Of course, family is important and due to the hectic schedule of mine, I have not spent much time with them. I need to go back for Christmas and it is also the first New Year with my daughter Blush so I want to go back home,” he said.
Looking Forward to the IPL, says Gayle
With the Indian Premier League coming up in a few months, the Royal Challengers Bangalore outfit would be hoping to better last year’s result and emerge out winners this time around. Gayle who has been an integral part of the squad since joining in 2011 feels that RCB have it in them to finally win it this year.
“Yeah I’m definitely looking forward to it this year. Last year was a cracker and hopefully, we can go a long way for this time too. Despite losing in the final last year, it wasn’t heartbreaking but in fact, it was a tremendous achievement for us. Next year will be different and hopefully, we can go all the way,” opined Gayle.
RCB arguably have the strongest batting line-up in the IPL which boasts of batsmen of the calibre of Virat Kohli,”Mr. 360” – AB De Villiers and Gayle himself. The dynamic trio form the core of the team and Gayle feels honoured to be a part of this trio.
“It’s been really great to play with them. It’s absolutely fantastic to share the field with them. We spend a lot of time with each other and keep giving each other tips and exchanging ideas. We go about the match plan before we play and it’s just good fun,” exclaimed Gayle.
Love Batting in Bangalore: Gayle
One of the most loved players in the team, the fans are itching to know whether Gayle would stay on with RCB in the long run.
“Honestly, I don’t have a say in that. I’ll have to take it one step at a time. I love it there in Bangalore. It’s a fantastic city which has a great stadium and amazing fans. The Chinnaswamy stadium has a great pitch too and I love batting there.
“Hopefully, I stay here (at RCB) for a long time but I honestly cannot say as to what the future holds, but I would like to stay here for as long as I can,” said Gayle.