After his incomprehensible knock last week, Chris Gayle is undoubtedly the figurehead of the IPL revolution. But more than this, watching his shots played around nearly 360 degrees of the wicket, he is the figurehead of the ‘Brian Lara Cricket 2005’ revolution.
Many young people, or cricket game geeks, will remember ‘Brian Lara Cricket 2005’ for it’s flair, questionable batting techniques and test innings scores in excess of 1000/1. It truly was a batsman’s game, with a good ball being sent miles into the stands in the first ball of the test match, just from the player tapping the L1 button (on the PS2). Does this remind you of anything?…
It was fair to say, I, like many other 11-year-olds at the time, simply skipped the bowling part and tried to score 1000 runs. Until that became tedious (as it would for a man with impeccable timing like myself…) and the quest of trying to make it realistic began, maybe a small reason my year 6 SATS were ‘under-par’.
Gayle’s technique against Pune did certainly show similarities to the batsmen on the game. With anything on the leg-side being flicked delicately for a maximum behind square, anything on the stumps flying to cow-corner/square leg, anything just wide of off being sent over the bowlers head and anything wider than that being artistically sliced over the cover region. Although he didn’t manage to beat my 310* off 72 balls with Andrew Flintoff against Australia (a record I am very proud of, if you can’t tell)!
After helping out at my local club’s junior section last year I was shocked to hear kids aged 12/13 shouting ‘Do the Dilshan!’ or ‘Gayleforce time!’, then seeing the poor lad batting flick the ball into his grill or simply throw his arms at the ball to the point his new ‘he’ll-grow-into-it-bat’ nearly takes them out of their sockets. It’s fantastic to see so many young kids getting into the game, but they seem to be heading closer to the MLB than a county contract. A league I’m sure Gayle would tear to pieces. Some even resembled ‘Happy Gilmore’, the less said the better I feel…
It’s well-known that although so many youngsters are getting into the game nowadays, it’s not the traditional style of the game they are interested in and who can blame them? Gayle scored his hundred at a strike rate of over 300, while the England captain Alastair Cook has a test strike-rate of 46.42. Which would you prefer to watch if you were a fast-food, technology driven, inpatient 12 year-old? Sadly soon may come to a day when young players no longer aspire to play test cricket for England, but instead aim to dominate the IPL.
I’m sure there were a few American Baseball tycoons who took an interest in Gayle’s innings. Personally I couldn’t see him pulling of the Boston Red Sox uniform… Click here to view on the Forum.