If cricket is a professional sport. He is ‘the pro’ of global cricket. If India is ‘the market’ for cricket. He is the biggest non-resident brand for Indian cricket market. If T-20 is ‘the bazar’ of cricket. He is ‘the king’ of that bazar. This is CHRISTOPHER HENRY “CHRIS” GAYLE. The biggest non-Indian cricket brand. First to touch milestone 10,000 in T-20 cricket. If cricket is entertainment, Chris Gayle plays to the galleries. The ‘Universe Boss’.
Sir W.G. Grace, once adjudged lbw refused to walk and told the bowler “they came to watch me bat, not you bowl”. You must be wondering what is the relevance of this epochal quote here. The relevance is Gayle for T-20 lovers. If stadiums are packed for 240-ball snap shot entertainers, if TRPs for T-20 are ahead of conventional Test cricket and the older curtailed version of ODIs – the fanatic fans come and tune-in for a flurry of towering sixes. Gayle has mastered the art. As much that running between the wickets is no more his cup of tea. He believes in delivering standing in the crease. For a doctorate in shortest version of the game, Gayle becomes a subject matter for thesis. Numbers support that. At the pinnacle there is only Gayle. The others will be seen miles behind – out of sight, out of mind.
In term of professional T-20 runs, Gayle with 10,074 enjoys nearly a 2,500 run lead at the top. In terms of sixes, the difference between him and the second best is nearly 300. For centuries the gap to bridge between Gayle’s 18 and eight at the No. 2 position appears like light years.
The Jamaican giant is virtually living out of his suitcase. A traveller for ‘contract cricket’. Knowing, where the entertainment lies. Where the moneys lie. That makes India his second home, away from home. That also makes him the biggest non-cricket brand in India. He has been associated with at least four brands in India. From mobiles phones to sports gear. Like the needs of T-20 cricket, for which he has specialized himself, Gayle also understands the needs of Indian market. He appears on Kapil Sharma show – considered the best promotional platforms by stars and brand icons. He chooses to launch his biography “SIX MACHINE” in India – in the presence of then the Board of Control for Cricket in India president Anurag Thakur.
The batting giant to brands himself as the “Universal Boss”. “Two triples, a double century in the 50-overs as well. So, the Universe Boss is still here, still alive and hopefully many more innings to come and entertain the fans as much as possible,” Gayle had said after reaching milestone 10,000. The man confirms he is here to stay. There is more entertainment in store for the lovers of the game. There are more opportunities for brands to embrace the hurricane. And Gayle knows, there are more opportunities for him to further establish himself in India as the best non-Indian sports brand icon for the Indian market.