Published:  06:03 PM, 17 July 2017

'There is still a lot of life in Chris Gayle'

'There is still a lot of life in Chris Gayle'
He saunters into the room - personality first, person later. Chris Gayle is dressed in an all-white ensemble. White shirt. White pants. White blazer. White shoes. 

He's been filming an advertisement as brand ambassador for a gaming company in Bengaluru. It involves shaking a leg. To indulge him, some rushes have been sent to his phone. Gayle likes to watch himself dance and laughs heartily as the clip plays. We are in a small room, bursting with people - tailors, designers, lightmen, camera operators, managers, bouncers and just general hangers-on. Gayle knows all this fuss is for him and about him. He likes it. 

"Universe Boss?" I ask him as we begin our interview,  "That's what you like to be called?"

"That's who I am," he chuckles. "I am very good at dancing. Very good at entertaining. I give the people what they want, put it that way. There's no better person to do such things than Chris Gayle."

There's little doubt Gayle can dance, or that it is entertaining to watch him do it. However, it is with a bat in hand that he has patented the formula for entertaining fans worldwide. Last Sunday, in front of his home crowd in Jamaica, Gayle was given the chance to do so for the first time since that insane day in Kolkata in April 2016, when he and a merry band of men in maroon captured a second World T20 title in a pulsating final against England.

We are in a small room, bursting with people - tailors, designers, lightmen, camera operators, managers, bouncers and just general hangers-on. Gayle knows all this fuss is for him and about him. He likes it
Gayle himself failed to sparkle in his comeback game, making a laborious 18 in 20 balls, but an astonishing assault from Evin Lewis secured West Indies victory, embellishing their credentials as the world's foremost team in the format. 

And as the oldest player in the group, Gayle was thrilled to be back in the mix - just doing his thing, in front of people who adore him and have watched him turn into one of the game's modern-day superstars.

"I felt like a debutant, like walking out in my first game," he said. "It was very good playing back for the West Indies. A lot of people have been speculating, 'When are you going to play for West Indies again, are you finished with West Indies?' No, I am not finished with the West Indies, to be honest with you.

They understand where I am coming from, what I am doing. I am 37 as well now, things actually change. To play in front of my home crowd as well, that was something brilliant. I could actually see the joy, people actually turn out to come and watch the game. There is still a lot of life in Chris Gayle."

It has been nearly three years since Gayle last played a Test for West Indies. He hasn't turned up in an ODI since the 2015 World Cup. His primary profession these days is donning team uniforms in various T20 leagues around the world as a gun for hire.

His (and other players') relationship with the cricket bosses back home has been ruptured for a while but suddenly there is a ray of hope. There is talk of a truce in the air, and the star players from the islands, so in demand by T20 franchises around the world, might return soon to national duty as well. Gayle admits "things are working out" but isn't sure if he will be back as soon as the one-day series in England in a few weeks.

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