Christopher Henry “Chris” Gayle (born 21 September 1979) is a Jamaican cricketer who plays international cricket for the West Indies. He captained the West Indies’ Test side from 2007 to 2010. He plays domestic cricket for Jamaica, and also represents the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League and the Dhaka Gladiators in the Bangladesh Premier League. He has also represented Worcestershire, the Western Warriors, Barisal Burners and the Kolkata Knight Riders in his career. He was also selected for team Uva Next for the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League in 2012.
He is one of only four players who have scored two triple centuries at Test level: 317 against South Africa in 2005, and 333 against Sri Lanka in 2010. He is known as a big hitter, often hitting sixes, including in 2012 the first ever off the first ball of a Test match. He holds the record for fastest century across any format in 30 balls and highest individual score (175) in an innings in T20 cricket. It eclipsed the previous mark set by Brendan McCullum of Kolkata Knight Riders. Gayle is popularly being hailed as the most aggressive batsman ever in the T20 format of cricket. At the launch of the Caribbean Premier League he was announced as the first franchise player for the league.
Gayle started his cricket career with the famous Lucas Cricket Club in Kingston, Jamaica. Gayle claimed “If it was not for Lucas I don’t know where I would be today. Maybe on the streets.” Lucas Cricket Club’s nursery has been named in honour of Gayle.
Gayle played for the West Indies at youth international level prior to making his first-class debut aged 19 for Jamaica. He played his first One Day International eleven months later, and his first Test match six months after that. Gayle, who normally opens the innings when he plays for the West Indies, is a destructive batsman who is most effective playing square of the wicket. In July 2001, Gayle (175), together with Daren Ganga (89) established the record for opening partnerships at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo when they put on 214 together against Zimbabwe.
However, generally speaking he had a slow start to his international career, but invigorated it in 2002, ending the year with three centuries against India in November and becoming the third West Indian to score 1,000 runs in a calendar year, along with Vivian Richards and Brian Lara. He is one of only six players in One Day International history to have three or more scores of 150. In 2005, Gayle was dropped for the first Test against South Africa along with six other players following a dispute over sponsorship issues (see below). He returned for the second Test but had a poor series until the fourth Test, where he made a match-saving 317. It was the first ever triple century against South Africa and up until Mahela Jayawardene made 374, it was the highest individual Test score against them. In another match of the series, Gayle had to leave the field after complaining of dizziness. During a subsequent series against Australia, Gayle again complained of dizziness and shortness of breath during his innings. He left the field for a time, and was after the match sent to hospital where he was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect causing a cardiac dysrhythmia. He underwent heart surgery following the series to correct the defect.
In August 2005, Gayle joined Worcestershire for the rest of the English season, playing eight matches. He made two half-centuries in three first class matches and two half-centuries in five one-day matches, and won one Man of the Match award in the one-day National League. However, Worcestershire were relegated after Gayle made 1 in the final match against Lancashire.
Gayle was named Player of the 2006 Champions Trophy, where the West Indies nearly defended the title they won in 2004, being defeated in the final by Australia. Gayle scored three centuries and totaled 474 runs, 150 more than any other batsman, and also took eight wickets in as many matches. Gayle, in keeping with the rest of the West Indies team, had a poor World Cup in 2007. He recorded a series of low scores; the one exception being a blistering 79 off 58 balls against England in the West Indies’ final match.
On 17 December 2009 in the Australia v West Indies 3rd Test Chris Gayle scored the fifth fastest century in Test match history. He reached the century in just 70 balls. However he was shortly after dismissed for 102 runs. This feat included a flurry of runs thanks to some big hitting sixes. One of the sixes hit the Lillee Marsh stand’s roof in a monstrous hit that was estimated by commentator, Ian Healy, to be approx 140 metres long. On 16 November 2010, he became the fourth cricketer to score two triple centuries in Test cricket after Donald Bradman, Brian Lara and Virender Sehwag.
In 2012 during the First Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Gayle became the first player to hit a six off the first ball in a Test cricket match.
Gayle set the record for the highest innings in a IPL (Indian Premier league) match on 23 April 2013, scoring 175 against Pune Warriors India in just 66 balls. Gayle set the record for the highest innings in a Twenty20 International, scoring 117 against South Africa in the first match of the 2007 World Twenty20. The innings was the first century in international Twenty20 cricket and made him the first batsman to score a century in each of international cricket’s three formats. The record stood unmatched until 19 February 2012, when South Africa’s Richard Levi scored 117n.o. against New Zealand; Cricinfo recognised Levi as having broken the record outright, because a not out innings is ranked above a dismissal.
In the semi-final match of the 2009 World Twenty20 against Sri Lanka, he became the first international player to carry his bat through the entire innings in this format of the game as well. In April 2008, Gayle was auctioned by the franchise Kolkata Knight Riders of the Indian Premier League, but missed the opening games due to a Sri Lanka tour to the Caribbean. When he finally joined the team, he missed out on the action due to a groin injury he picked up during that tour. Afterwards, he left to join the West Indies team for a home series against Australia, therefore not playing in the inaugural version of the IPL at all. On 1 July 2009, Gayle signed with the Western Australia Warriors for the Australian Domestic Twenty20 tournament known as the Big Bash for the 2009–10 season.
He played in the second IPL competition in early 2009, arriving for an away Test series against England very late, earning criticism about his commitment. His Test series went poorly, and the West Indies went on to lose both the Test and ODI series. Gayle, however, went to on score a match winning 88 in the first official match of the 2009 Twenty20, in a surprise victory over Australia.
In 2011, after being left out of the initial part of the West Indies T20 and one-day home series against Pakistan, Gayle opted to join the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League.In his first game against his previous team Kolkata Knight Riders, he scored 102 off 55 balls, hitting 10 fours and 7 sixes. On 6 May 2011, he scored another century, 107 off 49 balls against the Kings XI Punjab, which included 10 fours and 9 sixes. In the next match against Kochi Tuskers Kerala, he scored 37 runs in one over, which included 3 sixes, 3 fours and a no ball that was hit for a six. Although many people cite him as having hit the over for 37, one run was awarded as an extra due to the no ball. He can therefore be said to have hit 36 off an over that went for 37. Gayle won the Orange Cap Award for scoring the most runs in the tournament amassing 608 runs in 12 matches. He was instrumental in many victories for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and received five Man of the Match awards and also the Player of the Tournament award for his performances. In the 2011 Champions League Twenty20, Chris Gayle was the second highest run-scorer in the competition, behind David Warner, with 257 runs from 6 matches at an average of 42.83 and a top score of 92, and was one of the star players.
Following his prolific performances and the rubber-stamp being stamped that he is the ultimate pinch-hitter, Gayle was signed by Zimbabwean franchise Matabeleland Tuskers, for the 2011-12 Stanbic Bank 20 Series. As Gayle later recalled it was valuable practice ahead of the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, where he had signed for the Sydney Thunder. Gayle hoped his first appearance in the tournament was a success, and he gave the spectators something to cheer about. Gayle was the second West Indian to be signed in the event, after the legendary Brian Lara had signed for Southern Rocks the previous season.
Gayle had tremendous success in that tournament. He was the leading run-scorer in that series with 293 runs, a top score of 109, and an average over 50. He was also the best batsman of the tournament.Ironically, the only century Gayle scored in the event ended in defeat as Mid West Rhinos’s Brendan Taylor’s outstanding 75* outlasted his team. The Tuskers could not win the tournament as the were overpowered by Mashonaland Eagles’s Ryan ten Doeschate’s brilliant 121* off 58 and despite Gayle scoring a blistering half-century, it was not to see his home through.
Gayle plays for Barisal Burners at the Bangladesh Premier League, and has scored two centuries at more than double per ball.
In the 2012 IPL season, Gayle hit the most sixes (59) and was nominated for the orange cap for making 733 in 14 matches. On his return to test cricket in July 2012, he scored 150 on the third day of the first test against New Zealand.
Gayle scored 75 runs from 41 balls, fuelling West Indies’ total of 205, against Australia in the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 semifinal, which was the highest total of the tournament.
He was selected for team Uva Next for the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League in 2012.
Gayle started off his 2013 IPL season scoring 92 not out from 58 balls, hitting 11 fours and four sixes against the Mumbai Indians. His inning helped his side to victory, and he was awarded the Man of the match.
On April 23, 2013, in Match 31 of Pepsi IPL 2013 Gayle broke the records of Fastest Century in IPL History and the whole of professional cricket by scoring a century in just 30 balls, broke the record of Highest Individual Score in IPL History scoring unbeaten 175 runs and also broke the record of most number of Sixes in a IPL Innings, hitting 17 sixes in the match. He also took two wickets in the match. He now holds the records for fastest century across any format in 30 balls and highest individual score (175) in an innings in T20 cricket.
Despite being regarded as a calm, cool cricketer,in 2005 Gayle was involved in the dispute between the West Indies Cricket Board and a number of players over sponsorship issues. These players had personal sponsorship deals with Cable and Wireless, who used to sponsor West Indian cricket. However, since the West Indies had recently become sponsored by Cable and Wireless’ rivals Digicel the West Indies Cricket Board demanded the players dropped their Cable and Wireless deals. When the players refused to back down, the West Indies Cricket Board dropped them for the first Test against South Africa. Gayle later cut his deal with Cable and Wireless and rejoined the side for the second Test. He was charged with conduct contrary to the spirit of cricket during a Test against New Zealand in March 2006, but was subsequently found not guilty. Later that year, during October’s Champions Trophy tournament in India, he was fined 30 percent of his match fee after repeated verbal exchanges with the Australian batsman Michael Clarke. He also publicly criticised the West Indies Cricket Board during the 2007 tour of England, which led to an official reprimand and warning.
Gayle also received criticism in early 2009 during West Indies’ tour of England, where he commented that he did not want to captain the West Indies anymore given the pressures involved, and that he “wouldn’t be so sad” if Test cricket was superseded by Twenty20 cricket in the future. From the West Indies, both Viv Richards and Gary Sobers criticised Gayle’s comments, as did opposite number Andrew Strauss. Gayle later commented that his statement had been quoted out of context, according to Julian Hunte, President of the West Indies Cricket Board. In an interview with Mike Atherton at the conclusion of a West Indies defeat in their tour of England, Gayle stated that he was not going to resign the captaincy.
In April 2011 Gayle criticised the West Indies Cricket Board and coach Ottis Gibson and did not play for the team for more than a year. On 6 April 2012, Gayle and the WICB reached an understanding that paved the way for the former West Indies captain to return to the national team. On 25 June 2012, Gayle was chosen to be a part of the 2 T20 and five- match one-day squad series starting on 30 June 2012, in the West Indies and Florida. They won the T20 series 2–0 in which Gayle was awarded man of the series, and the ODI series 4–1 in which Gayle made an aggressive century and half-century.
Gayle is set to play cricket for the Northern Districts in the Plunket Shield in the 2013–14 and will miss the West Indian cricket team in New Zealand in 2013-14 tour of New Zealand, which contains 3 Tests, 2 T20 and five- match ODIs.