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Sports

February 19, 2021

PSL 2021: Chris Gayle 'excited to be in Pakistan for the first time in 15 years'

Sports

Fri, Feb 19, 2021
West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle. Photo: File

KARACHI: West Indian cricketer and the king of T20 matches Chris Gayle on Friday said that he is excited to be in Pakistan after 15 years, adding that he is ready to entertain spectators in Pakistan with his flamboyant cricketing skills while playing for Quetta Gladiators in the upcoming edition of the Pakistan Super League.

Talking exclusively to Geo News, the “Universe Boss” said that he was eager to play the entire tournament and dominate the PSL but will have to leave after the first two games. However, the 41-year-old cricketer said that he is "confident that he can do wonders even in those two games."

“I'm excited to be in Pakistan for the first time in 15 years. Unfortunately, I only have two games because of international duties, but as I said, the first thing I'm looking to do is to give my best to Gladiators," he said.

"Hopefully, I can get a start and showcase my entertainment side of the cricket so that fans feel a bit happy and I can give them something to cheer about."

Gayle couldn’t do much in the first two editions of the Pakistan Super League while playing for Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings, but for the aggressive batsman, that’s the story of the past as he’s confident of a good show this time.

“I'm always confident, man. I'm always a confident player. You know, I'm the greatest,” Gayle said.

“What I've been in the past, that's history now,” he added.

The 41-year-old cricketer said that he’s eager to score runs for his new PSL franchise, Quetta Gladiators, and show the fans what he is and what they missed in all these years.

“You know, I wanted to play the full tournament because I really want to actually come in and dominate the PSL and show you guys: 'hey, this is what you guys have been missing,' but it is what it is, and I just have to work with the situation now. Hopefully, these two games can create wonders,” he stated.

Replying to a question, he said that he is up for what the captain and the coach have in mind.

“I’m ready to take on the first ball, ready to do what I am accustomed to doing and put the team in a winning position,” he said.

The aggressive batsman has the record of taking the most runs, most centuries, most half-centuries and most sixes in T20 cricket. No batsmen in the shorter format seem closer to breaking Chris Gayle’s record.

The Jamaican cricketer shared his game plan and also provided some advice to youngsters who want to grow as power hitters.

“It is all about the strategy of how you go about a game. It's not like I plan to score a century but the situation of the game [decides it] so you break down a game stage by stage. It's not all about hitting big sixes, it is all about strategy and the momentum to have in that particular game as well,” he said.

“I always want to be the last person standing in the middle. And as opening batsmen always want to be the last person to be standing,” the West Indian cricketer said.

He added that batsmen shouldn’t go after hitting every ball over the fence.

“Maybe they were trying to follow Afridi,” he said with his typical laughter when asked why Pakistani batsmen can’t be consistent as power hitters.

“You don’t try to hit every ball, just target the bowler you want to hit and want to take maximum runs off. Strategise how you're going to go about in innings,” Gayle said.

The top-order batsman further said that the boundaries nowadays are not that actually big as well so guys can still hit for a boundary with a good shot.

Sharing his thoughts on the debate whether Pakistan’s Babar Azam is as good as Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Joe Root, the West-Indian cricketer said that the Pakistani captain is up there among the top three batsmen in the world.

“He is good as good as them,” Gayle said when asked if he rates Babar as good as Kohli or Smith.

“He's like up there with the top three, top four. He's definitely in the mix with them. So, you can't shy away from the fact that he's not up there where those guys you mentioned are. Yes, he's on top of his game as well and I'm talking about all formats of the game.

Terming PSL standards “fantastic”, Chris Gayle said that he is very much impressed with the bowling talent the country has produced through the league.

“Pakistan has so much talent from a bowling point of view,” he said.

Gayle also agreed with the observation that back-to-back bubbles due to the COVID-19 pandemic can affect players, especially when they’re not doing well, but added that there’s no other choice at the moment as players also want cricket to continue because it is their livelihood.

“It is tough,” he said when asked about life in a bubble.

“It is a tough situation. It can affect players and most players will find it tough who are not actually sort of performing. It can affect them mentally. So it's a situation where being in a bubble after bubble, just in a hotel room and then just from hotel to ground, it is not an easy thing,” he concluded.