Gayle blows in quietly

2012-02-22 00:00

IN a manner not befitting his surname nor batting method, former West Indian captain Chris Gayle was quietly introduced by the Dolphins at Kingsmead yesterday. Gayle will be the teams’ overseas professional in the MiWay T20 Challenge.

 

The 32-year-old was due to arrive last week Friday, but sustained a grade two groin strain in the Bangladesh Premier League T20 competition, where he represented the Barisal Burners.

This is Gayle’s first stint in the country as an overseas professional. He has played for various overseas teams, including the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders, in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Sydney Thunder in the Australian Big Bash League.

KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union CEO Jesse Chellan said Gayle would not be available for the game against the Knights today as he was still receiving treatment for his injury, but would be around the team to impart as much of his experience as possible.

Chellan said: “It will be difficult to say when he will be able to play.

“That depends on how quickly his groin heals and how his body responds to the treatment.

“In the interim he will be adding value in the change room and is spending as much time as possible with the team.”

Gayle had only kind words for Cape Cobras and Proteas T20 batsman Richard Levi, who broke his record for most sixes in a T20 international when he clouted 13 on the way to an unbeaten 117 against New Zealand in Hamilton last Sunday.

The Jamaican scored the first T20 international century when he plundered 117 against South Africa in the T20 World Cup in 2007.

Gayle said: “I watched his innings and it was very good and he is a good striker of the ball.

“It’s good for the game and good for him. Hopefully he can go on from strength to strength and play a bigger, better innings in the future.

“He now has a lot of expectations on his shoulders, but as a youngster, the quicker he can learn, the better for him.”

The 91-Test veteran deflected questions about his spat with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

Gayle last represented his country in one-day internationals at the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, where they were eliminated by Pakistan in the quarter-finals, and he last donned white flannels during the rain-affected Test series in Sri Lanka in 2010, where he made his Test-best 333 in the first Test.

He said: “That issue is something that is outside of this space at this particular point in time. It has been dealt with behind closed doors, so there is nothing for me to say publicly about this issue …”

His impasse with the WICB was sparked when West Indian coach Ottis Gibson critcised the senior players for lacklustre performances in the Cricket World Cup.

Gayle,Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, were dropped from the team, although Sarwan and Chanderpaul were later reinstated.

He went to play for the Challengers and was accused by the WICB of playing in the tournament when he was supposed to be undergoing treatment for a side strain.

Gayle will not be the first West Indian to play for the Dolphins: Hartley Alleyne and the late Malcolm Marshall blazed the trail.

Dolphins coach Lance Klusener said he looked forward to having Gayle in the team and hoped he would have the same influence on the younger players as Marshall had on him, Shaun Pollock and Dale Benkenstein.

Klusener said: “If he can leave here having helped a young David Miller, Vaughn van Jaarsveld or any young player who wants to improve their game, or imparts that one bit of knowledge that helps a player massively, he would have had a massive impact, not in terms of just playing for us, but by having an influence on somebody’s career.

“We have a young team and he is the right man to bring inspiration.”

• khanyiso.tswaku@sa.24.com

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