Why Gayle is the prototype of the pure T20 batsman

Sat, Apr 15, '17


Chris Gayle

The West Indian power-hitter's boundary-centric approach has made him perhaps the greatest exponent of successful T20 batting.

A hundred years ago, a revolution was in the offing in baseball. The dead-ball era was about to come to an end. The greatest champion and mascot of the new baseball was Babe Ruth, a strong, larger-than-life power-hitter who played for the New York Yankees, and laid the foundation not only for baseball as we know it today but also for the dominance of the Yankees over the last 100 years. The rules of baseball were changed at the end of the dead-ball era to favour power-hitting.

It would not be wrong to view Christopher Henry Gayle as the Ruth-like talisman of the T20 game. Few elite international players have embraced the format as Gayle has. As he approaches 10,000 T20 runs, he is over 2500 ahead of the next on the list. He has also hit nearly 300 sixes more than the closest competitor. It is not just the magnitude of his records, it is the revolutionary manner in which he has produced those numbers that makes him not just the front runner to be considered T20's Ruth, but perhaps the only T20 veteran who can claim such a mantle.

T20 is now well into its adolescence. For many reasons, it has struggled to establish itself as a sport in its own right, distinct from cricket - significant among them is the absence of a language that describes this new sport's distinctive measures of virtue. Perhaps unsurprisingly, much of the language deployed by professional observers is wholly borrowed from limited-overs cricket and even Test cricket.