On his day, there is no more exciting player to watch than Chris Gayle. And thankfully for the West Indies, Gayle tends to have a lot of good days. There is nobody else in international cricket who can strike fear into an opposition attack the same way Gayle does. And the scariest thing is that he always looks so laid back. Why worry when you are Chris Gayle?
Although he is most famous for his coloured clothing cricket, it is still worth looking at what has been an illustrious Test career. His 95 appearances for the Windies have produced 14 centuries, and a staggering 85 sixes. Despite not always looking at ease against the new ball, Gayle compensates a lack of footwork with an impeccable eye that rarely misses the red leather.
Gayle has produced some of the fastest centuries ever recorded in the Test arena. His 79 ball century against South Africa signalled his arrival as a big hitting opener. It was also one of four centuries in a highly prolific 2004 season. The 2009 tour of Australia was a success for the booming West Indian, as Gayle notched back to back centuries to salvage some respect for his side. The first was a measured 165* in which he had to fight to the very end to earn his side a draw. The next was more like the sheer brutality we have come to known, as Gayle blasted a 70 ball ton at the WACA that left fans running for cover.
The West Indian captain is also in rare company as one of only four players to have scored multiple triple centuries. His 317 against South Africa was somehow bettered by his 333 against Sri Lanka in Galle. Both knocks showed that he has the temperament to survive long stays at the crease. However, it is his big hitting that people come to see, and in the first Test against Bangladesh last year, Gayle became the first player to hit the opening ball of a match for a six when he dispatched debutant Sohag Gazi over long-on.
Gayle’s ODI career is nothing to be sneezed at either. The left-hander has belted his way to an impressive 20 centuries, including three scores of more than 150. His 193 sixes in just 239 games rates amongst the best of all time. His huge hitting has often translated to big scores for both he and the team, while his failures tend to have a flow-on effect.
While he has done well in the other formats, it is his T20 career that has earned Gayle the most recognition. Gayle became the first player to smash a century in a T20 international, when he massacred the South Africans at the 2007 World T20. His 117 off 57 balls was almost as shocking as the West Indies somehow going on to lose that match.
Gayle has been a T20 gun for hire in competitions across the world. He has played for the Knight Riders and the Bangalore in the IPL. He has represented Western Australia and the Sydney Thunder in the KFC T20 Big Bash League. His exploits have also taken him to Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and back home to the West Indies.
He boasts a record nine centuries in T20 comps played across the world. He has often been the lone hand for the Thunder in the Australian competition, where he topped the run charts with a magnificent 100* last year against the Strikers. His best score was a mind-blowing 128* for Bangalore off just 62 deliveries. And he has hit a total of 336 sixes throughout his career.
Gayle’s monstrous blows will be a constant thorn in Australia’s side. The way he can control an innings is second to none, while his acceleration and outright disdain for bowlers can be frightening. Australians can be forgiven for thinking the master blaster is out of form following a poor BBL 02 campaign. However, after returning for the final two games of the Caribbean T20 League, Gayle smashed 85 and 122* for Jamaica. Oh dear.