When Chris Gayle is around, you can rest assured there will be entertainment aplenty. On the field, the entertainment comes in the form of the fours and sixes that he dispatches with utmost ease. You can always trace a mischievous smile on his face as he is whacking a six or befuddling the batsman with his spin. Off the field, the entertainment comes in the form of his witty and humorous remarks.
So when the Jamaica-born batsman, in the official press conference yesterday, pretended not to recognise Bangladesh off-spinner Shohag Gazi with a deadpan reply of “Who's that?”, everyone was pretty sure Gayle was just working the crowd. “The same guy I whacked for a six off his first delivery in Test cricket? He's in the history books, I made him famous,” Gayle persisted down the light-hearted road for a bit before getting back to business. “He is a good young man, good prospect for Bangladesh cricket.”
It's hard for Gayle to actually not remember Gazi, because after being dispatched for two sixes in the very first over, the bowler had more than his fare share of revenge. Gazi got him dismissed in his third over and then dismissed him again in the next Test and once more in the first ODI. That tour in late 2012 set off a lengthy lean patch with the bat for the Jamaican.
But Gayle has regained some of his form in recent times, and back to full fitness, his confidence is sky high. As the leading batsman of West Indies, Gayle is looking forward to be at his best and helping West Indies retain the World Twenty20 title.
“Worldwide people want to see Chris Gayle do well and entertain. That's why they pay the money,” said a supremely confident Gayle.
The witty Gayle resurfaced soon though when asked whether he would prefer to use his spin -- an art he has practised less and less in recent times -- on the spin-friendly pitches of Bangladesh.
“Talking about my spin bowling? I'm the best spinner in the world man. And you know what, I bat right-handed these days, done with batting left-handed,” said Gayle as the room burst into laughter.
Underneath those jokes and the laughter, there is an almighty confidence and a resolve which is hard not to notice. And when he says: “I'm a batsman capable of scoring tons on any wicket or anywhere in the world,” there is every reason for opponents to be scared.