Gayle: 'Virat’s knock will spur his team-mates'

Virat Kohli’s hundred in the first Test against England provides just the kind of inspiration that a struggling Indian batting line-up needed, feels Chris Gayle.

Chris Gayle at a promotional event in New Delhi on Friday.   -  AFP

He is called the 'Universe Boss' and at 38, Chris Gayle remains the king of cheeky comebacks. The West Indies cricketer was in town for a promotional event and, asked about his opinion on the absence of some big names from the World Cup next year, quipped, “you have Chris Gayle no, why do you worry, who else do you need?”

It was the kind of response one expected from Gayle and he did not disappoint through the interaction, mixing serious insights with humour. Asked about the way T20s have evolved over the last decade, Gayle took credit with a laugh. “You might want to thank Mr. Gayle for that who made it (hitting big sixes) possible, it actually changed it all. Everybody, even the smallest player is hitting big sixes now. Even Test cricket has changed, there are more runs being scores in Tests, teams making around 300 runs in a day. It’s all good and hopefully it will bring in more people to watch the game,” he said.

And when someone questioned him on the ICC proposal to limit player participation to just two T20 leagues across the world – something which would affect the West Indians most if agreed to – he just shrugged. “I don’t think that will happen,” he said on the sidelines of being named brand ambassador for Adda52.com, a poker gaming website.

But it wasn’t all fun. Gayle was effusive in his praise of Virat Kohli after the Indian captain’s century against England in the first Test on Thursday and cautiously optimistic about the future of West Indies cricket.

“I saw the highlights and it was the perfect start you want in a series, especially from a captain. It was a brilliant knock to put the team in a position to come back from where they were. Today is the 3rd day, right? The 1st session would be key for Indian bowlers to get through the English batsmen. Hopefully it will spur the team on to do well,” he said about Kohli.

As for the West Indies, he picked out Shimron Hetmyer as the one to watch out for. “Things won’t happen overnight. The talent is there, there are a lot of youngsters coming up, but the consistency is not there. West Indies need to win a big series and it’s a long process, it’s gonna take time. Shimron Hetmyer is one for the future, Evin Lewis and Shai Hope are young as well and them being in the mix is good for Windies cricket. They just need to use experience wisely,” Gayle said.

And what about his own future? “The 2019 World Cup in UK is the objective right now. But we will be monitoring how it goes through the rest of the year. I will also have discussions with selectors, coach n captain and we will see how it goes,” he signed off.