Gayle’s other hat
By Tim Ellis

What a week it has been for the underrated opener. How many times have you heard the phrase "flat track bully" and Virender Sehwag mentioned in the same sentence? Considering Graeme Hick who has often had the same accusation thrown at him, it may seem a little unfair that a man who averages 20 runs more than England's once great Zimbabwean hope is viewed in the same way. There's nothing like being pigeon-holed as a limited player after scoring 293.


The more interesting case is the Caribbean cool in Chris Gayle. Steve Waugh is a man who never wastes words, but in 2005 he recognised that "the highly talented Chris Gayle has the presence and ability to influence those around him". However, Waugh qualified his comment by calling for a change in Gayle's attitude. "He is a serious offender in the casual cool club. By handing in his membership, he will ensure a mass exodus that will go a long way to fulfilling his natural talent and that of others in the side."

The West Indies being led by a strong hand is not something that recent history can point to with any great confidence. Brian Laras’ talent made headlines with world class hundreds but he did not have the ability to bring together disparate talents. Gayle has been called an enigma, a man who can hit a cricket ball as far as he likes and then follow it up with a cheap dismissal that belies an attitude of irreverence and impatience.

The words "Gayle" and "digging in" are anathema to what the Windies skipper has offered so far. Until Adelaide, the normal response from the Caribbean castle of sand when 35 runs ahead and ten wickets in hand is to capitulate in much the same manner that the England teams of the 90s would, when faced with a superior position over Australia. This time, Gayle refused to play the get-out clause in defiance to the opposition.

His magnificent 150 clearly shocked the West Indian management. "That innings from Chris was unbelievable," proclaimed the coach David Williams.

"He doesn't normally play like that. But he had to conserve his natural play and try and stick around." For a man who questioned the survival of Test cricket and his own commitment to it barely six months ago, Gayle has managed to perform a PR miracle. After a three-day thumping at the Gabba, it looked like the tourists were ripe for a heavy beating and more question marks over their Twenty20 loving skipper. - Cricket365

But it was Gayle himself who led a serious late night inquest into the manner of the defeat at Brisbane, asking for more accountability. Maybe he learnt something from Andrew Strauss in the cold summer of discontent. Maybe he just had to show a greater desire to all those who still see him as a man who is not up for all seasons.

Whatever the current climate on Chris Gayle's captaincy, even his ice cool temperature will no doubt be raised a few bars after this Test.


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