Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gayle no longer a big T20 force

Has West Indies opening batsman Christopher Gayle been downgraded to “storm warning” and is no longer the “category five hurricane” he used to be?

Having observed Gayle’s overall performance in recent times—ie, batting, bowling and fielding—it first appeared he may have been nursing some injury that had prevented him from being his normal self; but as time has gone on, culminating in West Indies’ loss to Sri Lanka in the semi-finals of the World T20 Championships last week, it would appear he may have even been reduced to nothing but “storm watch”.

In contrast to most Test batsmen, who in their latter years concentrate on just the shorter versions of the game, Chris Gayle seems to be doing just the opposite, as demonstrated by his batting of late. It would appear he is now prepared to play himself in, beat the shine off the ball and use techniques not conducive to T20 cricket but better suited to Test cricket.

Maybe I’m wrong, but to me it is out of the ordinary for a team batting second to lose a game on the Duckworth/Lewis system. I am by no means saying he alone is responsible for our loss, but with Darren Bravo not being able to bowl because of a side strain, and a probably shell-shocked Sammy “recusing” himself from the bow­ling attack, it was left to our reserve bowlers to face the hail of bullets Sri Lanka unleashed on us.

So now that Chris Gayle seems to no longer possess the fury he once had, the West Indies hierarchy should consider sending him in lower down in the batting order to free his arms and not worry about “taking the shine off the ball”, as he seems to be doing now.

Gregory Cockburn

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