Gayle: The real king of good times
From the coaching manual
Tuesday, 17 May 2011 18:23
Contributed by GK
Take out the 6ft 3in muscular frame of a certain Chris Gayle from the Indian Premier League’s fourth edition and honestly the cricket carnival has nothing much to be talked about. I would bet my last penny, that if not for the Gayle storm, the TRP ratings of IPL this season, which have fallen down by over 25% in the first 49 games compared to the last year, would have plummeted to abysmal levels.
Now that’s what you call an impact player. The thrusting Jamaican may be plying his trade for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), but his flamboyant demonstration till now has also done wonders to the tournament as a whole. Not only RCB’s campaign but even IPL-4’s fortunes could easily be divided into pre-Gayle and post-Gayle era. For Bangalore, they had won only one out of the four games they played before Gayle came in.
Like a superstar, who he is anyway, Gayle was to make a surprise entry on April 19 against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Bangalore. But to add further drama, rain God decided to descend on Chinnaswamy stadium. RR and RCB had to share points for that match. But in hindsight Shane Warne and his men would have thanked their stars for not being the first ones to get bludgeoned. Though RR weren’t spared and Gayle mercilessly swatted Warney’s men in their home in RCB’s reverse fixture on May 11.
Gayle’s first fixture of IPL-4 may have been washed off, but God has his ways of giving justice. RCB’s next match, after the washout, was against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), the marauding southpaw’s former employers. Gayle announced his arrival in the IPL with some mean destruction of KKR bowlers. Tonking an unbeaten 55-ball 102, Gayle made Shah Rukh Khan and his coterie pay royally for ignoring him or not retaining him in a format of the game which is tailor-made for him.
But that didn’t hurt the Bollywood Badshah alone. The other eight teams were too would have been cursing their stars that they ignored him in the auction. Everyone else than Vijay Mallya were made to regret the slight they gave to the 31-year old. His belated entry as a replacement to an injured Dirk Nannes was, is, and will remain the story of the fourth edition of IPL.
Now that he announced his arrival, he decided to live up to the initial noise he made. He started dealing only in boundaries and sixes. Delhi Daredevils (DD) and Pune Warriors India (PWI) would consider themselves very, very lucky that they saw Gayle’s back well before he could score a century to say the least. But he didn’t go without making any damage. Scoring quickfire runs; 26 off 14 against DD and 49 off 26 against PWI, he gave RCB the nitro boost.
And then came Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the tiger’s den. This was when the real Gayle was seen. His ballistic century, studded with 10 boundaries and nine sixes propelled RCB to 205. He wasn’t going to stop there. With the ball in his hand, his mean spin got him three wickets too. He added his own flavour by celebrating the wickets by flapping his arms and chugging along like a locomotive. May 6 was Gayle Day in IPL.
Adam Gilchrist, who was leading KXIP could all but admit that his side were shell-shocked with Gayle’s brut display. The stats book said that Gayle had now become the first man to have scored two centuries in an IPL season.
Two days later, Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK) came to Bangalore. Every RCB match was now billed as Gayle versus the opposition team. Gayle didn’t disappoint the scribes who created the hype. In an unprecedented show of ruthless onslaught, Gayle blew the daylights out of Prasanth Parameswaran, hitting him for a record 37 in one over. RCB would have overhauled the target of 126 in less than 10 overs if Gayle would have stayed on for a little more time. But the damage was done.
Statisticians have been dumbfounded seeing this man’s climb up the ladder. In just seven games he has played till now, Gayle was the top-scorer till Saturday scoring 436 runs at an incredible average of 87.50 and mind-numbing strike rate of 201.85. As of on Tuesday, he is behind Paul Valthaty by a mere two runs. The number of sixes he has hit in this edition of IPL is not even funny. With 32 sixes, the second closest to him is Valthaty at 19.
And for Bangalore, they are yet to lose a match since Gayle has joined them and also are table toppers.
He hardly looks anything but menacing without a willow in his hand. In fact, he would easily win the award of ‘coolest cricketer’ in the world in a poll done anywhere on this planet. Beneath his strong willow-wielding ways is a man who wants to live life his way or to say king size. Gayle has that genuine Caribbean flavour in him. And fittingly, his owner too is known to be the ‘King of good times’.
In his laid-back ways also he is brutally honest. He readily accepted that he had hardly touched his willow since their early exit in the WC. He also said that he was a ‘bit surprised’ to have been ignored in the auction. But then Windies were playing Pakistan and he was expected to be a part of the side. He was unceremoniously dropped from Windies side. But with his exhibition in IPL, he not only made the IPL owners but also the West Indies cricket administrators to regret.
It was probably because of the testy relationship he had with West Indies Cricket Board for not signing his contract that led to his exit from the national side. But that seems to have benefitted Gayle and hurt the Windies more. But like Gayle, even cricket lovers care least about the whole thing. All they want to see is ball being launched in to different orbits from Gayle’s willow.
Cricket lovers in the scenic and peaceful Dharamsala city today (Tuesday) would want to experience some Gayle-storm while KXIP and their bubbly team owner Preity Zinta though would be praying for some peace. But as long as Gayle remains on the pitch with a willow in hand, peace talks are only a dream.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 July 2012 13:13