Want to reach 100-Test landmark: Gayle

Gayle said the perception he is not fond of Test cricket is wrong.



Colombo: Former West Indies captain Chris Gayle, who rarely gives interviews, spoke to The Telegraph for around 30 minutes at the P. Sara Oval on Thursday evening. The 33-year-old took all the questions till such time that teammates and support staff boarded the bus for the ride back to their hotel.

The following are excerpts

Q A heavy demand is always placed on you... You’re expected to be the West Indies’ saviour. Does that put you under pressure?

A Not really... The expectations have been there for quite some years, so it’s not something new for me... Now, it’s natural for me not to worry about it. I also expect the others to play their part. I have confidence in the guys.

So, what’s your approach?


I keep it as simple as possible, don’t overdo things. I can’t take to the crease thinking I’ll be smashing all over the park from the first ball. It doesn’t work like that and I can’t take things for granted. Bottom line is to play smart cricket and, indeed, to respect the individual who is bowling.

ALSO READ:


You returned to the West Indies squad after being out for more than a year. What’s it like now?

It felt good to be back after 15 months... When I wasn’t playing for the West Indies, I was contributing a lot around the world to the other teams (in domestic competitions)...

The runs I scored for the other teams are the runs I could have scored for the West Indies... I missed out on a lot in terms of statistics.

Is that a regret?

Definitely... I’m looking for opportunities to try and make up. One has to take things as they come, but one does occasionally look back in life. I guess that’s natural.

Some called you a mercenary, when you weren’t playing for the West Indies, but turning out in the IPL and in the KFC Big Bash. Did that hurt?

I don’t wish to go down that road.

But was the ‘mercenary’ label warranted?

I know what I stand for, I know the issues which were involved, but people are entitled to form their opinion... Today, looking back won’t be beneficial, so I’d rather look ahead.

[Gayle missed 16 Tests, 24 ODIs and seven T20 Internationals between March 2011 and June 2012.]

As we speak, what’s your priority?

To help the West Indies win the World Twenty20. We have a great chance and are high on self-belief.

You’re a good friend of top athletes Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake...

Yeah... Usain and I keep communicating through BBM... We’ve played a few sport together... I loved the way they sprinted in the London Olympics... We were in the middle of a Test series at home (against New Zealand), otherwise I would have been cheering for them in person.

Have you invited Blake to play for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)?

(Laughs) I’d love to have him in RCB... I’d also love to have Usain... Both are big fans of cricket.

But are they good cricketers?

They are... They are... They can handle themselves (on a cricket field) and will never put themselves in an awkward position. They’re passionate about cricket and passionate about the IPL... Right now, Blake is more into the game than Usain, but even he can do the job.

What were your emotions when Jamaican athletes set the track ablaze in London?

Felt very proud... Usain, Blake and the other athletes have put Jamaica and the entire Caribbean on the global stage... Those were emotional days across Jamaica and across the Caribbean.

How is Bolt, a superstar, as a person?

Great guy to know, great guy to have around. He has no airs about him... Usain’s great.

You’re a role model for many. Who did you look up to?

No one batsman... Initially, I was more into other sport, like soccer, so I didn’t grow up idolising anyone batsman. Later, like everybody in the Caribbean, I did watch Brian Lara and he quickly became my favourite.

Since you’ve mentioned soccer, are you passionate about a team?

Man United maan... Among soccer players, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s amazing.

Were you a striker or a medio?

Everything... A complete soccer player! Call me versatile.

It’s widely held that you aren’t fond of Test cricket...


That’s not correct... I’ve played 93 Tests and have two triple hundreds, so it’s not a fair comment. Hopefully, I’ll be playing for a few more years and will get to the landmark of 100 Tests.

Is there a future for the 50-over ODIs?

I think so. Because of T20, batsmen have the potential to get more runs in the ODIs, just like the ODIs helped batsmen score more and score quickly in Test cricket. The ODIs have made Test cricket more aggressive, I expect T20 to have much the same impact on the 50-over game.

What would you tell a room full of young batsmen?

That the sky is the limit... Put your mind to what you want out of life... Never let anybody tell you that you can’t be an achiever. Go and get what you want. As I’ve said, the sky’s the limit.

The last one... Once you’re through with the game, how would you like to be remembered?

A person with no regrets... A happy, joyful person... Somebody fond of colours, bright colours... Somebody who didn’t make life too difficult... Easy to talk to... I’ve had an open life and I’ve been open-minded about others.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

IPL 7, GAME 11—Vinay's over, Lynn's catch turns last-over finish in KKR's favour. More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

April 24: A legend is born

As Sachin Tendulkar turns 41 - here's a look at some offbeat moments from the Master Blaster's innings. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »