Anybody distantly familiar with the game of cricket has heard the name of the Jamaican heavyweight Chris Gayle. Considered to be one of the best batsmen to play the game in T20 and ODI formats, Gayle has broken many records over the years in test cricket too.
Gayle has also been the captain of the West Indies Cricket team. Off the field, he is known for his playful attitude, which adds to his ‘entertainment factor’. It is an understatement to say that he is a fan favorite.
In domestic cricket, he plays for Jamaica. Other major teams he is a part of are the Royal Challengers Bangalore of the Indian Premier League and the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League.
Chris Gayle started off his journey in the world of cricket by playing for the Lucas Cricket Club in Kingston Jamaica, an academy which has produced other distinguished alumni too. Gayle has repeatedly credited his success to his time at his childhood club.
Lucas Cricket Club's nursery has been named after Gayle. Chris made his debut for Jamaica when he was just nineteen, and eleven months later, he went on to play his first one day international match. He made his test debut soon on the 16th of March, 2000 against Zimbabwe.
Rise to Glory
Gayle’s career took off in 2002 after a slow start, as he scored three centuries against India in the month of November. This made him the third West Indies player to score 1000 runs in a calendar year, after legends like Sir Viv Richards and Brian Lara.
After being involved in a sponsorship controversy over Digicel with the Windies Cricket Board, Gayle along with a few players were dropped from the test squad. However, he made his return and scored a match saving 317 against South Africa in 2005.
Gayle became an international icon in the ICC Champions Trophy of 2006 as West Indies beat Australia to retain the title they won a couple of years back. Gayle was named “Man of the Tournament” for his contribution of 474 runs (150 more than the batsman in 2nd position) and took eight wickets.
Health Problems and Controversies
Chris Gayle has had an uneasy relationship with the West Indies Cricket Board. This has resulted in him being dropped from the team at several occasions starting in 2005.
He has, at times, criticised the Board publicly. He was dropped from the team for a year in 2012, due to his public statements against the board.
However, he marked his return by winning the Man of the Series Award and leading his team to a series victory against India. Gayle had to leave a few matches against South Africa and Australia after complaining of dizziness and shortness of breath.
He was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect causing a cardiac dysrhythmia. He underwent heart surgery to correct the defect.
T20 Success and Legend Status in International Cricket
In a match against Zimbabwe in the 2015 ICC World Cup in Canberra, Australia Gayle became the first player to hit a double century in the World Cup history. Gayle scored a massive 215 from 147.
Gayle, in his debut for the Royal Challengers Bangalore scored a century with a strike rate close to 200. He also holds the record for the highest individual score in T20 cricket. He scored 175* in just 66 balls during the 2013 IPL against Pune Warriors India.
He was instrumental in many victories for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and received five Man of the Match awards and also the Player of the Tournament award for his performances.
On 16 September 2017, Gayle became the first ever player to hit 100 T20I sixes.