Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
West Indies opener Chris Gayle has revealed that he “cheated death” upon undergoing a life-changing heart operation in Melbourne 12 years ago.
Gayle suffered from an irregular heartbeat during the early part of his Test career and it was later found out that he had a hole in his heart.
As a result, the big-hitting Jamaican went under the knife to correct the problem during the West Indies’ tour of Australia in 2005. In fact, he retired hurt in the second Test in Hobart in order to have the surgery.
“That’s where everything changed. That was a life-changing situation,” Gayle told Fox Sports News 500. “That’s why I don’t really take on what people say, because they haven’t experienced certain things and know what a particular person is going through, or how a person feels.
“When they see people having fun, let them live their life. People should live their life how they want. At the end of the day, it’s their life.”
Since it was the first time Gayle was having an operation, he refused to tell his family as he himself was terrified.
“It was very scary. (No one) knew I was in the surgery,” he said. “I didn’t want to scare them. So I called them after.
“If I did die on the bed, I wouldn’t have had a chance to tell them. I think I cheated death by doing such a thing.”
Having survived the frightening ordeal, Gayle, in his autobiography “Six Machine”, wrote that he vowed to live life to the fullest everyday.
“In that moment I realise I have changed,” he wrote. “Looking down at the wires, the patches, my heart no longer jumping under my skin, I make the vow.
“From this day on, I’m going to enjoy life endlessly. Whenever – God’s will – I get better, I’m going to do everything to the fullest.
“No waiting, no hedging, no compromises, no apologies. Night won’t stop me, dawn won’t stop me. Wherever I go I’m going to have fun.”
He did exactly that as when he returned home to Jamaica, he went to a club on his first night and second night. By the third night, he had no recollection of what had happened on the second night.
“I picture a green graph like the ones I’ve been watching on the cardiograph, except this time (it’s) showing parties per week rather than heartbeats,” he said. “In Melbourne, I’m flatlining.
“In Kingston, there’s a spike that won’t calm down.”
Nonetheless, Gayle doesn’t see himself as a party animal and hates it when people call him that.
“I never party much anyway. I’m not a party animal,” he said with a wry smile. “People think I party a lot. Don’t be fooled by the Instagram posts. I’m not a party animal – just a party lover
But, what’s the secret behind Gayle’s ability to drink till the early morning and still have the focus and strength to club massive sixes?
“It’s easy … I always get my rest,” he said. “That’s what people don’t understand. They see me party but I make sure I get my seven hours sleep.
“They think I don’t sleep. But I do sleep a lot. Sleep is key. Ask anyone – they know when not to contact Chris. Because I’m sleeping. I sleep during the day.”
Staying on the topic of cricket, the 37-year-old revealed that he plans to continue playing the sport until he is 50 so that his nine-month-old daughter can get the opportunity to see him in action.
“I want to be the first man to play till 50,” he admitted. “I’d love her to see me play cricket. I want her to just turn up in the stands and watch dad play a game of cricket, I’d love her to actually witness it one day.
“Age is something, it’s a number. It’s about the body, when you’re young you can get away with a lot of things, you definitely do a lot more partying.
“You have to keep in shape and you have to start eating properly as well, now, being older now, you have to do all these things. Freshen up the body and make sure you can actually last longer.”
Gayle has been a regular face in domestic Twenty20 tournaments around the world and while he excels in the format, he has not played Test cricket since September 2014.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Nonetheless, he refuses to retire from Tests as he believes he still has a future in the longest format.
“I will play again,” he vowed. “I want to score 400 runs in a Test match. I’ve done two triples, I think I can push it to four [hundred].
“A lot of people want to see me back in Test cricket, a lot of people. That’s one of the reasons why I haven’t announced I’ve retired because wherever I go, people want to see me play Test cricket, to give it one more shout, that’s why I’m holding out.”