An average of 99 - there's only one adjective for that, isn't there? But Bradman-esque is never going to work for Chris Gayle. The Don wouldn't have sat at home watching him cream 39 off an over and said, 'yes, of all modern players, Chris Gayle is the one who reminds me most of myself,' not least because he probably wouldn't have liked the idea of the IPL very much.
But there is an adjective that fits for Chris, and it's Richards-esque - not Viv, but Barry. When Bad Bas was in his pomp, his aptitude for casual, off the cuff carnage was the equivalent of Gayle's. He made 325 in a day, for example, against a West Australia attack that featured DK Lillee, and a former-pro once told me the story of a bowler who displeased the great man by dismissing him in front of his parents, who had flown in to watch him bat. Richards told him in words of few syllables that he would be humiliating him in the second innings, and he did, almost cruelly. Richards was perceived, much like Gayle, as a mercenary who turned it on when he felt like it.
And Richards, like Gayle, possessed another, less definable quality, in that there was something extra about the way he struck the ball. In Richards' case, it was the way the ball seemed to gather pace as it went towards the boundary, or how it hung in the air as it cleared it. Gayle too has this. Lots of players hit the ball hard and a long way, but not like he does. Virat Kohli said today that he had 'the best and most dangerous' seat in the house to watch him. Dilshan admitted he was scared by the power with which Gayle strikes it.
Richards was better than Gayle, so Chris can be pleased with his adjective. Richards-esque it is. Famously, Bad Bas once turned his bat sideways during an exhibition match and made fifty using the edge in the days when the edge was the width of a slim volume of poetry. With the edge on Chris Gayle's bat he'd have made a double hundred.
On Talking and Writing about Cricket
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