DateLine: 17th June 2008
An attacking Jamaican left-hander, Gayle didnít get off to the best of starts in international cricket when he fell out with senior players on the tour to England in 2000.
Tall and imposing at the crease, he loves to hit through the covers off either foot, and has the ability to decimate the bowling attack if he gets to spend even the remotest time at the wicket. He stroked a 79-ball century at Cape Town in January 2004, in response to a South African first innings of 532, typically studded with attacking shots all over the park. However, Gayle's lack of footwork was exposed when England came in 2004, and he averaged a mere 26 against their potent pace attack, struggling against Steve Harmison who dismissed him four times in seven innings.
He returned to form with a ton against Bangladesh but it was with a career-best 317 against South Africa in Antigua that he made headlines again. In the disastrous 2005-06 tour of New Zealand he led the batting in the three-Test series, piling 235 runs, while no other batsman could even put up a fight. What is more enchanting is that he also bowls brisk non-turning offspin, with which he has turned himself into a genuine one-day allrounder. He averaged over 40 in the 2006-07 season with three hundreds, an unbeaten 133 against South Africa in the Champions Trophy being the highlight, and three fifties.
In the absence of the injured Ramnaresh Sarwan for the English tour in 2007, Gayle was handed the captaincy for the limited-overs series and was immediately success by beating England 2-1. He also led in the Test series against South Africa, leaving with a 1-1 result, and was retained as captain ahead of Sarwan for the home Tests against Sri Lanka in 2008.
Gayle was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders to play in the IPL for a staggering $800,000, making him one of their most expensive players. So much so, that he was even reluctant to play in the Test series against Australia when the schedules clashed. However, a groin injury meant he was unable to play any IPL matches anyway.
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