Caught in a Ga(y)le

Chris Gayle is not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. His century sunk an already listing Bangladesh. A report by Vijay Lokapally.

Chris Gayle should rank among the top entertainers in world cricket. Tall and elegant, this Jamaican is held in high esteem by Brian Lara and the cricket fans at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium got a taste of his classy batsmanship as he cracked a century.

That West Indies thrashed Bangladesh by 10 wickets was hardly a surprise. "It became an easy game, but you can't take a team like Bangladesh lightly. It can beat any team in the world on a given day and we just couldn't have been complacent," stressed Lara at the end of the one-sided finish.

Lara was lavish in his praise of Gayle. "Chris is a tremendous player. We all have great respect for him. He may be our franchise player. It is for good reason he is rated one of the top all-rounders of the world. He gets the support of the team and the country for his excellent cricket," said Lara.

In tremendous form, Gayle reflected on his 13th century in One-Day Internationals. "I always look to make the most of good form. It becomes easy when you keep your composure. It was not an easy pitch to bat on."

Gayle has a simple philosophy. "My aim is always to be more and more consistent. You can't take any attack in the world for granted, certainly not Bangladesh. They have some good spinners and one has to keep assessing the situation in the middle. I know I can read the game and that makes my task easy when there is pressure." The first thing that Gayle likes to ensure is getting a good start and for this he had Shivnarine Chanderpaul as solid company. Gayle revealed later what transpired between him and Chanderpaul. "I was keen to get my hundred and he was looking at his fifty. He told me, `Do whatever you want to, but make sure I get my fifty'," remarked Gayle.

A decent off-spinner in the shorter version of the game, Gayle also gave an insight into his approach to bowling. "I don't concentrate on my bowling. My main job is to bat. But I know my capabilities and I do enjoy my bowling," said Gayle.

West Indies was tested in some areas, but Bangladesh did not build on the early advantages. Electing to bat, Bangladesh was doing well at 95 for one but a collapse triggered by a casual stroke left the team in a familiar position, defending a poor target. "We had to show there was some distance between the teams," said Lara.

The Bangladesh skipper, Habibul Bashar was candid in his views. "We had started well by not losing more wickets after losing Ashraful early. But we badly needed someone to get a big score and here Aftab got out at the wrong time. He is consistent in getting 30s and 40s, but he needs to translate them into big scores. We had a bad day. Just not the kind of cricket we had been aiming to play."

Once again, Bashar brought up the fact of having lost a good number of seniors in a short period. "It's practically a new team," he insisted. "Most players are new and need more time to develop. But I agree we ought to have put up a better show, but we did just the opposite. We had a very bad game."

The Scores

ICC Champions Trophy, Qualifying match, West Indies vs Bangladesh, Jaipur, October 11, 2006. West Indies won by 10 wickets. Bangladesh 161 in 46.3 overs (S. Nafees 38, A. Ahmed 59, Bravo three for 14) lost to West Indies 164 for no loss in 36.4 overs (C. Gayle 104 not out, S. Chanderpaul 52 not out).