Chris Gayle – Back into the Caribbean fold

Jharna Kukreja Chauhan

The game’s most explosive player of recent years has without a shadow of doubt been Chris Gayle. The Jamaican batsman has built a reputation for unleashing power-packed performances with remarkable consistency. His modus operandi often involves a slow and steady start which almost on will launches into a full-fledged attack on the opposition bowling unit. The Gayle force as it is now known, is characterised by jaw-dropping sixes that often end up outside the stadium and leave the opponents wishing they opted for an alternative career.

Due to a prolonged tussle with the West Indies Cricket Board, Gayle’s breathtaking batting was limited to Twenty20 matches in leagues across the world. He represents Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash and Barisal Burners in the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League. It looked like the latter part of Gayle’s career would be restricted to that of a T20 specialist in the battle between club vs country.  The game of cricket was poorer in the bargain.

Following the 2011 World Cup, Gayle’s clash with the West Indies selectors cost him a place against visitors Pakistan and India. He also went on to miss series in India, Australia and England. The standoff was only broken when he made up with the selectors, following which the WICB picked him for the limited-overs leg of the England tour.

Although it is still early days, Gayle’s return to Caribbean cricket rejuvenated the side almost instantly. His presence helped a group of also-rans turn into a team that could not only compete with the best but also give them a run for their money. West Indies lifted the ICC World T20 trophy and with their coordinated Gangnam style dance moves gave the world a glimpse of the Calypso flavor we’ve been missing all this while.