A tribute to Chris Gayle, a true modern great

Sai Siddhharth

Gayle will go down as one of the greatest batsmen produced by West Indies in limited-overs cricket

When he is on song, no bowler is spared. When he is at his stunning best, no boundary appears toobig. Chris Gayle is an enigma - a man who has entertained the cricketing world for over two decades with his stunning exploits on the field. His fearless approach to the game made even the best of the bowlers cringe, as he dismantled them with brute force.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Gayle will go down as one of the greatest batsmen produced by the West Indies in limited-overs cricket. He is the highest run-scorer and the highest century maker for the Men In Maroon and is also the only Windies cricketer to feature in 300 ODIs for his country.

More than anything else, Gayle is an extremely colourful character. His sixes, dance moves and his unique celebrations have entertained crowds and endeared him to the masses. He was a man blessed with immense power, and he used them to terrifying effects. Gayle is second in the list of players with most sixes in ODI cricket (331 sixes), only behind Shahid Afridi, who has 351 sixes.

He is also the second West Indian to feature in five editions the World Cup (the other being Brian Lara) and is the second-highest run-scorer for the West Indies with 1186 runs in cricket’s marquee tournament.

Gayle is the only West Indian batsman to score a double hundred in ODI cricket, and the second batsman in the world (the other being Martin Guptill) to do so in the World Cup.

South Africa v West Indies - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup

And, even at almost 40 years of age, Gayle is still fighting it out for his side. And, in the third ODI against India, Gayle was at his nonchalant best, carting the Indian bowlers to all parts of the ground. He scored a 41 ball 72, entertaining the crowd at the Queen’s Park Oval in what may well have turned out to be his last innings for his nation.

He feels that he still has it in him to deliver for his nation. He still feels that is still capable of producing fireworks. But, it remains to be seen whether the selectors will persist with the legendary cricketer, who will turn 40 in a month.

But then, whatever happens during the rest of his career, we can all be sure one thing. Gayle was the last of his kind: a destructive batsman, a sure shot match-winner, but above all, he is an entertainer par excellence.

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