Off-field antics to on-field brilliance: The phenom called Chris Gayle

  • Siddhartha Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 17, 2016 16:36 IST
West Indies’ Chris Gayle in action during a ICC WT20 match against England. (PTI Photo)

Chris Gayle is to cricket, what Zlatan Ibrahimovic is to football. Both are Mavericks, yet devastating in their field of play. Their legions of fans seem to even grow in the face of controversies and quotable quotes.

For instance, when asked about why he refused to join Arsenal early in his career, Zlatan famously replied: “Zlatan doesn’t do auditions. Or his mater-of-fact analysis of how good he is, when he said: “When you buy me, you are buying a Ferrari.”

And Gayle’s style is very similar. While dealing with the 2015 Big Bash controversy and the subsequent criticism after he asked out TV interviewer Mel McLaughlin on camera, he dismissed it with an arrogance he is known to show on-field bowlers.

And that was that. Not a stranger to controversy, he displayed his cool indifference while he was being targeted by former internationals for his part in the payment related tiff with the West Indies Cricket Board. Then, the Jamaican, was often spotted with friends living life king size, while questions were being raised whether his playing days in West Indies colours were over.

Like most part of the world, Gayle is a poster boy in India too. His tag-team signature dance move with this Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate Virat Kohli was a big hit with the fans.

His Gangnam style moves regaled many. His IPL teammates are awed by how he stays cool.

“He is chilled out. He is always joking around with juniors and will tease them over anything. He keeps the dressing room light. Last year, he danced in the dressing room and likes to take selfies with players. He loves eating and would inform the hotel chef about his likings,” said Yuzvendra Chahal, who shares the dressing room with Gayle in RCB colours.

“I don’t think I have ever seen him thinking too much for his cricket. He practises hard and decides what he is going to do on a particular day in training. On days he will only defend, then he will only play shots and on some days he will hit just sixes. He keeps it simple,” Chahal added.

West Indies coach Phil Simons too is fan of Gayle’s ability to stay calm. “He actually analyses it as simple as he does it,” said Simmons.

On Wednesday, Gayle was back on the social media, doing what he does best. After walking back on unbeaten on 100 against England, the first thing he did was to post a video with Suliemann Benn on instagram. “I saw that video and suddenly I remembered that picture of his with me where we both posed half naked with our arms flexed. And Gayle put that picture on his instagram page. It attracted a lot of people. That was fun,” Chahal said.

That is how King Gayle plays.

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