Gayle: Kohli not the only match-winner India have

"They have so many match-winners, like our team as well, we have a lot of match-winners too. It is not always going to be about Virat or me."

Chris Gayle is one of only two centurions in the 2016 World T20.   -  K. R. Deepak

The moment a public face uses illeism, he/she invariably puts people off. After all, referring to themselves in third person while speaking is usually considered as the height of being loud-mouthed. But when Chris Gayle does it, you don’t find it offensive enough.

The brawny West Indies opener resorted to illeism more than once during his five-minute interaction before the Caribbean’s first training session ahead of Thursday’s World Twenty20 semi-final against India. But every time he referred to himself as “Chris Gayle”, his face had a grin instead of an arrogant look.

“Chris Gayle will always be positive. It doesn’t matter which bowler is bowling against Chris Gayle. Chris Gayle is looking to attack,” he said at the Brabourne stadium on Tuesday. “That’s the nature of T20 cricket. And that’s the nature of Chris Gayle. No names, just a cricket ball. Beat it as hard as possible.”

As much as he was asked about Virat Kohli, his Royal Challengers Bangalore captain, Gayle was also asked about the possibility of facing R Ashwin, India’s ace spinner, at the start of the innings. In IPL as well as in T20 internationals, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has on numerous occasions successfully laid the offspinner trap for Gayle. The burly Jamaican was up for the challenge.

“It is no surprise. That always happens. Dhoni always puts Ashwin up early but Dhoni is an unpredictable captain. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll do it but these things do happen. Like I said, I am looking to show what Chris Gayle (is),” he said. “I will be prepared, I’ll be ready mentally for whichever particular bowler he has to focus on if it is Ashwin. There are so many bowlers there – Nehra is bowling well. He is very good with the new ball. We just have to keep our eyes open, play according to the situation.”

India’s batting in this edition of WT20 has revolved around Kohli. That has been the perception about West Indies’ batting every time it takes field in the shortest format. Gayle tried his best to portray that neither team is a one-man army.

“We are not going to focus on only Virat, there are so many match-winners there and anyone of them can actually fire on any particular day. India is a huge team, their batting line-up is superb, but Virat is the man that stands out at this point in time,” he said.

“They have so many match-winners, like our team as well, we have a lot of match-winners too. It is not always going to be about me. For a particular stage, one of our batters should take up the baton if Chris Gayle doesn’t score runs, someone should actually take it up and fire as well and put the team in a winning position.”

If the number of Illeism occurrences in Gayle’s speech match up with his number of hits into the stands, India will have plenty to ponder come Thursday.