Chris Gayle is the only West Indian cricketer to have scored a hundred in a T20I, a double hundred in an ODI and a triple hundred in Test cricket.
Even at the age of 40, this opener is considered as the best T20 player in the history of the game and his statistics strongly approve of it. He is the only cricketer to feature in 400 T20 games. Gayle has made a mark in all three formats of the game and is one of the sporting gems that the Caribbean islands have excavated.
Gayle started playing cricket as a kid at the Lucas Cricket Club in his hometown, Kingston. He played for the youth teams in Jamaica before making his international debut. He did not have to fight it out hard at the domestic level as he made his international debut just 11 months after making his First Class debut for Jamaica.
However, he made his way back into domestic cricket in 2006, where he joined the English county Worcestershire to play in the County Championship season. He played three First Class games and five one-dayers. He scored four half-centuries in 8 matches.
A 19-year-old Chris Gayle made his international debut in an ODI against Indian Cricket Team at Toronto in Canada on 10 September 1999. He scored just 1 run batting at No. 4. He also bowled 6 overs that fetched 37 runs out of the 165 that India scored for victory.
Six months later, he played his first-ever Test match against Zimbabwe in Trinidad that started on 15 March 2000. He scored 33 in the first innings and a golden duck in the second. Gayle also picked up figures of 3/25 in the first innings. The home side eventually won the contest by 35 runs.
He made a name for himself in 2002 when he registered three centuries against India and joined the greats like Sir Vivian Richards and Brian Lara to the list of West Indians with more than 1,000 international runs in a calendar year. He then had an ordinary couple of years before 2005.
In 2005, he was picked to play the Test matches against South Africa. In the fourth Test, he scored his maiden triple century (317) to save the game and recorded the highest individual score against South African cricket team at that time. However, his career was threatened after he had a few heart problems in the series that followed. He was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect causing a cardiac dysrhythmia. But given how strong the man he is mentally and physically, he came back to Test cricket soon and became only the fourth West Indian to carry his bat in a Test innings.
Gayle made his T20I debut against New Zealand on 16 February 2006 at Eden Park in Auckland. He opened the innings and scored just 10 runs off 12 balls. He returned with figures of 2/22 in his 4 overs. Interestingly, both sides could manage only 126 runs and the result was obtained after a ‘bowl-out’. The hosts won the game.
He then participated in the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 and made the tournament his own. He scored 150 runs more than any other batsman in the tournament and became the highest run-getter in the competition with 474 runs under his belt. He also took 8 wickets in the series and was awarded the ‘Man of the Tournament’ award.
The Jamaican could not continue his form in the ICC ODI World Cup 2007 that followed. However, he was once again at his best when the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup was played a few months later. He recorded the first-ever T20 international hundred in the tournament. He thus became the first cricketer to score centuries in three different formats at the international level.
He was made captain of the West Indies side in the ICC T20 World Cup 2009 after getting criticized for playing in the IPL 2008 and missing an international series a few months before. Gayle scored a quickfire 88 in the opening game of the tournament and helped the Windies beat the mighty Australians. They lost in the semi-final to Sri Lanka.
In December 2009, he scored a 70-ball century in a Test match against Australia, which was the fifth-fastest Test century at that time. Eleven months later, he registered another triple century (333) and became just the fourth cricketer to score two triple centuries in Test cricket after Sir Donald Bradman, Brian Lara and Virender Sehwag.
He also led West Indies in the 2010 edition of the ICC T20 World Cup. Another major point in his career came in the ICC T20 World Cup 2012. He scored a blazing knock of 75 runs against Australia in the semi-final of the tournament to power the Windies into the final. Gayle’s 75 was the highest individual score of the competition. The ‘Men in Maroon’ went on to win the coveted trophy for the first time 2 days later.
Also see - Babar Azam biography
He was selected to play the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 in England. He was West Indies’s highest run-getter in the tournament with 96 runs in 3 innings. Fast forward to ICC T20 World Cup 2014, Chris Gayle was once again the leading run-getter for West Indies with 143 runs in 5 innings.
The ICC ODI World Cup 2015 was his fourth consecutive ICC ODI World Cup. The ‘legend’ was once again the leading run-getter in the tournament. He scored 340 runs in 6 innings. He scored his maiden ODI double hundred in this competition and became the first cricketer to do so in a World Cup. In the same innings, he shared a 372-run partnership with Marlon Samuels, which is the highest partnership in a World Cup game till date.
Gayle was once again a part of a successful campaign for West Indies in the ICC T20 World Cup 2016 where they became the first team to win the title twice. Gayle scored 113 runs in 4 innings.
The Jamaican played his fifth consecutive ICC ODI World Cup in 2019. He had announced before the start of the tournament that he will retire from ODI cricket as soon as the competition gets over. He managed to score only 242 runs in 8 games and then all of a sudden decided to continue his ODI career. In the World Cup, he became the most capped player for West Indies with 455 appearances in international cricket.
He decided to take a break from cricket for a while in December 2019. His return date is unknown.
The hard-hitting batsman was signed by the Western Australia Warriors for the inaugural edition of the Big Bash League in 2009/10. The same year, he was also picked by the Kolkata Knight Riders to play in the second edition of the Indian Premier League. He had quite ordinary two seasons with them before switching to the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011.
The switch proved to be quite beneficial for him as he emerged as the highest run-getter in the tournament with 608 runs to his name with 2 hundreds and 3 fifties. He also hit the most number of sixes that season. He hit 44 sixes while the second name on the list, MS Dhoni, had hit just 23 even after playing 4 more innings. He received five ‘Man of the Match’ awards in the season and was also named the ‘Most Valuable Player’ of IPL 2011.
In the BBL, he moved to Sydney Thunder for the following season. He was the highest run-getter in the series with 293 runs including a century. He then participated in the Bangladesh Premier League playing for the Barisal Burners and scored two centuries in the season.
He continued his exemplary form in the 2012 edition of the IPL as well. He scored 733 runs in 14 matches and became the first cricketer to win two IPL Orange Caps. He won it in consecutive seasons. He also scored the maximum number of sixes (59) in the season once again. However, his best individual performance in T20 history came in the following season.
Chris Gayle highest score in IPL and in T20 cricket came against Pune Warriors India on 23 April 2013 when he scored 175 not out in just 66 balls. He broke multiple records in the innings including the fastest century in any form of competitive cricket (30 balls) and the then most number of sixes in a T20 innings (17). To add to it, he also took 2 wickets in the match.
He had fairly ordinary seasons of T20 cricket till 2016. He played for the Adelaide Striker in the Big Bash League in 2016 and equaled Yuvraj Singh’s record of fastest fifty in T20 cricket (12 balls). The same year, he played for the Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan super League and managed only 103 runs in 5 matches. The following year, he played for the Karachi Kings and managed only 160 runs in 9 games.
In April 2017, Christopher Henry Gayle became the first cricketer to score 10,000 runs in T20 cricket. He had a turnaround year in IPL 2018, when the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) snapped him for his base price of INR 2 crore after being snubbed by his previous franchise all of a sudden. He scored 368 runs in 2018 and 490 runs in 2019 for KXIP.
Chris was born to Dudley and Hazel Gayle. He married his longtime girlfriend Natasha Berridge on 31 May 2009. He became a father to his daughter Blush on 20 April 2016.