BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Virtually all eyes will be trained on one player when Barbados Tridents clash with Jamaica Tallawahs in the third game of the 2015 Caribbean Premier League at Kensington Oval tonight.
Where ever batting superstar Chris Gayle goes, he usually attracts massive attention and the upcoming contest is expected to be no different, when he leads his Tallawahs against the reigning champions.
Already, much of the Tridents game plans are centring on how to stop Gayle’s fireworks but the languid Jamaican was quick to deflect attention.
“It’s not really about me. I think when you look at our team, the balance in our team and the batting depth up front as well, that can ease the pressure off me a bit and that’s something I’m looking forward to,” the Tallawahs captain told a media conference here yesterday.
“We have a lot of match winners and it would be fantastic for us to go out there and play our natural game.”
Asked how he would deal with the fact that the Tridents bowlers would be targeting him specifically, Gayle said he was unfazed.
“They won’t be the first and won’t be the last. I guess I am very important so that’s nice to know,” he said sarcastically with his trademark hearty laugh.
Tridents will meet a Gayle in top form. In three recent matches for Somerset in the English T20 Blast, the 35-year-old left-hander smashed scores of 92, 151 not out and 85 not out, to set the competition alight.
This was against the backdrop of his 491 runs at an average of 40 for Royal Challengers Bangalore in this year’s Indian Premier League.
Gayle said he was now looking to reproduce that form in front of his adoring Caribbean fans.
“I am [pleased with my form], there is no doubt about it. Of course I want to put on a show for the fans here,” he noted.
“Based on what they have heard or what they have seen on TV, they want to see it in person here in Barbados and this is our first game here in Barbados for the last two years in the CPL, so it would be fantastic.
“I am sure the Barbados fans they love shots so I’ll just go out there and entertain [because] they want entertainment. They can say ‘yes, I got my money’s worth.’ I’ll just try and put on a good showcase from a personal point view and a team point of view as well.”
Today’s contest is already being billed as Gayle versus the hitting power of Tridents captain Kieron Pollard, with the two batsmen regarded as two of the most powerful in the global Twenty20 circuit.
And when asked about the showdown with Pollard, Gayle again was at his comical best.
“I am going to crush Pollard, that’s what will happen!” Gayle said jokingly while banging on the table.
He then added seriously: “The camaraderie [between Pollard and I] is good, it’s good for the game.”