Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Flamboyant West Indies opener Chris Gayle will bid ODI cricket adieu after the World Cup in England and Wales later this year.
With Gayle plying his trade in multiple domestic Twenty20 competitions around the world, he has decided to bring his ODI career to a close at the age of 39.
“You’re looking at a great man,” he was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “I’m the greatest player in the world. Of course I’m still the Universe Boss. That will never change. I’ll take that to the grave.
“Yes, I’m looking to draw the line after the World Cup. Or should I say cut the string? Definitely, in 50-over cricket, the World Cup is the end for me. I’ll let the youngsters have some fun and I can sit back in the party stand and watch them have some fun.
“Winning the World Cup would be a fairy-tale finish. The youngsters owe it to me to win. They have to do that for me and try and get me the trophy. I’ll be looking to put my input in as well.”
While he will retiring from ODIs after the World Cup, Gayle seems to have his eye on featuring at the 2020 World Twenty20 in Australia, even though he will be 41 at the time.
However, he is also hoping to play in the inaugural edition of The 100, a new tournament organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), prior to the World Twenty20.
“If I don’t start it, it won’t be a tournament,” he said. “I guess England should invite me over. Then I’ll explode the tournament and say ‘thank you guys; bring in a youngster now.’ I’ll set the trend like I did in all tournaments around the world.
“I’m in good condition. The body is feeling good and I’m pleased with that. I’ve lost a bit of weight and I don’t want to get too big. I’m still working on my six pack. I’m trying to keep up with the youngsters in the field who are like cats the way they chase the ball. I still have it in me and I’m still enjoying it.”
Gayle admitted that seeing the West Indies beat England 2-1 in the recently concluded Test series was “one of the greatest things to happen in 10 years”.
While Gayle is mostly renowned for his accomplishments in the limited overs formats, he insisted that Test cricket still remains the ultimate form of the game.
With that in mind, he urged youngsters to look to play Test cricket rather than solely seek out the lucrative contracts on offer in the different Twenty20 competitions.
“It was a great Test series,” he said. “It was fantastic to watch from the sidelines and I think it was one of the greatest things to happen in ten years.
“I was the captain for the last home series win against England and to see Jason Holder lifting that trophy ten years later was fantastic, so hopefully as a unit we can get the better of England again in the ODI series.
“Yes, I’m positive about the future of Test cricket. It’s always been the ultimate. I know the youngsters coming up are all looking at T20 cricket, but I would urge them to try to play Test cricket. It will give them a chance to challenge themselves. Definitely they should try.
“Being back in West Indies colours is the most important thing. I’m actually looking to go forward with the Windies. I’ll be bringing some experience to play and sharing that with the youngsters and I hope to enjoy the next couple of months with the West Indies cricket team.
“I’m always looking to put on a show. England fans love to see the universe boss exploding and entertaining you guys as much as possible here in the Caribbean and in the UK as well. I’ve set the trend for a long time, so hopefully I can continue in that same vein and play the game in the true spirit it should be played in.
“This series against England might be the last time people get to see the Universe Boss on local soil. The last game I played in Barbados for Jamaica I got a hundred and it would be nice to continue where I left off and entertain the home fans as much as possible. At the end of the day everybody should be happy and enjoy the game.
“I don’t know who is opening the bowling for England, but any bowler is going to beware of Chris Gayle. That doesn’t change because he is 39 now, they are going to be saying ‘yes, he’s got some grey hairs in his beard, let’s get him now, this is the perfect time to get the universe boss now he is 39.’
“Oshane Thomas bowls a heavy ball. He’s got a bright future; he’s very explosive with the ball. Him and Shannon Gabriel: they’re youngsters, man. But I will destroy them anyway.”
When asked if media work is what the future holds for him, Gayle said: “Definitely not me. I’m not a talker. Maybe I’ll make an appearance here and there, but I’m not into the talking thing. I’m not really into the coaching thing either. I’ll figure it out. You’ll see me around.”