Questions for Chris Gayle
Thu, Jun 3, '04
As part of a new initiative by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to extend post-play press conferences to the Internet, opener Chris Gayle took questions from journalists around the world after his man-of-the match performance in the first Test against Bangladesh.
The text of that online chat follows where Gayle talks about his new batting stance, the state of pitches in the Caribbean and the plans to implement retainer contracts for West Indies players...
Thank you very much. Yes I did do some work on my batting. Actually, over the weekend, I played club cricket got a hundred and I also did work in the nets as well.
Chris, you bowled 43.2 overs in this match because a specialist spinner wasn't picked? How much does this affect your batting when you have to carry such a load?
It does not really affect my batting but sometimes I get a bit tired when going to bat, especially since I'm an opener.
You are currently enjoying your most productive year in Tests. What do you attribute to this success?
I have always been working at my game and trying to improve everyday and every game, so I guess I am now seeing some good rewards.
Bangladesh had previously avoided defeat in just two of their 28 matches and both were due to the weather; would you say that their standard of cricket has improved to the extent to earn a creditable draw with the W.I?
Of course, their cricket has improved a lot. Batting wise, they seem to settle down more and be more patient and they occupy the crease a lot. They bowl according to their game plan so I would say they have improved a lot.
You seemed very restrained while batting in this match. Is this an effort to be more selective with your shots?
I am always selective with my shots. I tend to wait on the ball some more now. I don't want to really push at it because that's how I got out previously - I was reaching too much for the ball.
During the test match, we noticed that you have adopted a new batting stance, which some have argued has improved your balance. In what ways do you think this change will help your run scoring?
Sometimes I am not even aware of my batting stance, I just try and get closer to the ball and cover my off stump more. This will reduce the chances of me getting out.
Following up on the last question...It seems your leg is spread much wider than it was during the tour of Zim/SA. Is this a specific adjustment you have made? What other things have you been working on to compensate for any weakness in your technique? Can you provide some details...
It is wider because I feel more balanced that way and I am a tall batsman. I have been working on my slip catching, I'm working on my reflexes, trying to respond earlier. I'm still working on a number of things with regard to my batting but I would prefer not to speak about those now until I sort them out properly.
what is your approach towards helping establish a consistent opening partnership, and whom do you see as the most likely candidate?
I just have to work with who I have now and, just like everyone else, I am looking for a game and hoping to continue playing.
You struggled against England, recently with Steve Harmison posing a difficult problem. Is it a situation where West Indian batsmen, including yourself, have difficulty dealing with the lifting ball? If so, how do you hope to correct that problem ahead of the tour to England?
I don't think I have any problems dealing with the lifting ball. I've played against Harmison already and I think I know him much better now, so I'll have to watch him closely and get the job done.
The West Indies have not had the best record playing away from home. Does this add any pressure ahead of the England tour?
I don't think it adds pressure but we will have to try and turn the tables now.
For the past three years, the pitches in the Caribbean for the regional competitions have been batsman friendly...has this affected the West Indies team in how their cope with the bouncy wickets in the first three tests against England?
I don't think it has affected us that much. We can't blame the wickets for our defeats, we have to be pros and play hard and try to win every game.
You captained Jamaica this season in the Carib Beer Competition. Have you ever given any thought to captaining the West Indies, at any point in the future, should the situation present itself?
When that bridge comes I'll cross it but, for now, I am focussing on my batting.
If you didn't have problems with the lifting ball during the England series, what would you say contributed to your low scores?
I don't think that I can offer any excuses. It is something that happens in cricket, you won't succeed all the time and you fail more than you succeed.
When the captain makes it clear he was not happy with the final XI that was selected, how does that affect the team taking the field? It seems there's a cold war between the captain and the selectors. Does this negatively impact the team's performance?
I am not sure what took place, but the team was quite happy, I wasn't aware of it (whatever it was) and I don't think it affected the guys.
Chris, do you or your teammates read the captain's newspaper articles? He has been very vocal about his feelings on the composition of the final XI, are you aware of this?
No I don't read his articles and I am not aware of what he said about the final XI.
Team spirit must be hard to maintain given some inconsistent performances. How does that team maintain it and who do you as a player relate to most in the team and who do you like to hang out with?
I have a good relationship with everyone, and basically we're trying to encourage everyone. Sometimes when we're down in the field, I think we can support the bowlers some more because not all the times things will work out for us in the field.
The use of the sunshades while bowling, is there any particular reason behind it?
Yes, the glare affects my eyes so the sunglasses help me with my sight.
Your take on the retainer contract scheme... and the general attitude towards fitness and training in the squad?
I think the contracts would be good for the players. I think it is overdue. The guys have been working out, going to the gym and doing the routine working hard.
Again on retainer contracts...How will it make a difference to you personally as a player? And good luck in Jamaica, we are looking forward to some exciting cricket.
Generally I think I will be more secure knowing that I have a secure salary whether I am playing or I am injured. I think it will really help with us being more secure as players.