The ICC World Cup 2019 in England was supposed to be the final ODI tournament of Chris Gayle. The West Indian opener had declared this much before the competition had begun. As soon as this announcement was made, articles were written all over the media on Gayle and his final farewell, fans lamented how they would miss their favorite ‘Universal Boss,’ and every cricket fan awaited the legendary West Indian opener to go out on a high one last time.
However, in a curious turn of events, it appears as if Gayle won’t be bidding adieu to the cricket world so soon, after all.
The 39-year-old opener, in a recent press conference, hinted that he intends to continue playing after the World Cup and is likely to take part in the home series against India – especially the ODI series and one Test match.
“Maybe a Test match against India and then I’ll play, definitely play the ODIs against India. I won’t play the T20s. That’s my plan after World Cup,” Gayle said to the press.
Gayle has always been known to be impulsive and spontaneous, and this appears to be another one of those decisions. Because even West Indian captain Jason Holder wasn’t aware of Gayle reverting his retirement decision. When questioned about it from the media, Holder stated that Gayle hadn’t said anything about it in the dressing room.
So why did Gayle extend his retirement plan?
Only Gayle would know. Perhaps it was because his last World Cup wasn’t going the way he had envisioned. The opener had thought he would set the tournament alight with his pyrotechnics and go out on a ‘Gaylestorm.’ But as of now, Gayle has managed only 194 runs in 6 matches in World Cup 2019 at an average of 38.80 with two fifties.
Another possible reason might be his friendly ties with India. Since the dates for the West Indian series against India were revealed only midway through the World Cup, Gayle might have been forced to rethink. Going out in front of his home crowd and while playing against the team, he has superb friendly relations with would have sounded like the perfect farewell point for Gayle.
So what now?
Since Gayle has made himself available for the ODI series and the Tests against India at home, likely, he will indeed be selected. As of now, Gayle has 10,345 ODI runs – the second highest in West Indian cricket after Brian Lara – along with 25 centuries. He also has 7214 runs in 103 Tests. Chris Gayle is one of the legends of the game and deserves to go out on a tremendous high. He has entertained millions of cricket fans all over the world through his attacking batting and colorful persona for years. It would be rather unfortunate for a player like Gayle to fizzle out without a bang in his last leg. Hence, bidding adieu to the game in front of his home crowd appears to be the perfect swansong for Christopher Henry Gayle.
Unless, of course, he has another surprise ready for the world under his sleeves. With Chris Gayle, you never really know.