MELBOURNE, Australia, CMC – Australia’s Big Bash League is bracing for the arrival of West Indies star Chris Gayle and his Melbourne Renegades captain Aaron Finch says he is looking forward to the prospect of playing alongside one of the game’s biggest names.
The left-handed Gayle will be making his first appearance in the Bash in three years and Finch believes the big-hitting opener can make a huge impact as the Renegades challenge for their first ever title in the competition.
“I’ve been on the receiving end of some of his enormous innings in the past so it will be good to actually play with him,” Finch said.
“If we can bat around Chris and allow him the right amount of time to get going, it doesn’t guarantee success, but I think it sets up a pretty good model.”
He added: “The statistics would say that Chris is the best player in the world and I’m a pretty good player as well, so it could turn out to be quite a nice combination.”
Gayle came under heavy criticism during his last stint in the Big Bash when he turned out for Sydney Thunder. Then, he managed a mere 137 run at an average of 19, with his lavish off-the-field lifestyle taking precedence.
Finch downplayed the controversy, however, pointing out that with the player based this time around in Melbourne and having the presence of fellow West Indies teammate Dwayne Bravo, his focus would also be different.
“He’ll be in Melbourne, for one. It’s a great spot and Dwayne Bravo, one of his good mates is here as well. So I think it will be a little bit more comfortable for him here, I think,” Finch contended.
“He’s played enough cricket around the world – I think he’s played Twenty20 in most of the countries that you can play – so it’s just about making Chris as comfortable as he can possibly be and fit, that’s all we’re worried about.”
Gayle reportedly underwent back surgery following the Caribbean Premier League in the summer and it has raised doubts about the player’s fitness.
However, Finch said he was encouraged by Gayle’s readiness following his recent short stint in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League.
“I think it’s just a case of wait and see when he gets here,” Finch said. “I know he has been smacking them around in Bangladesh, and I’m sure he has been swinging hard testing it (back) out as well.”
The Big Bash bowls off Thursday.