West Indian big-hitter Chris Gayle was reportedly added to the national squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021 "not on merit but on reputation".
It is being said that Sherfane Rutherford and Sunil Narine couldn’t find a place in the West Indies T20 World Cup squad because Gayle was not required to meet the fitness standards for the global event and even his current form was not considered while selecting the veteran batter.
The 42-year-old Gayle is the only cricketer to have scored a triple century in Test cricket, a double century in One-Day Internationals, and a century in T20 Internationals. The “Universe Boss” has so far scored 1,854 runs with the help of two centuries in the T20Is.
But, since the 2016 T20 World Cup triumph, the Jamaican star has been struggling for form and has scored just a single half-century in the last five years at the international level, and even the left-hander went without a fifty in the IPL 2021, scoring just 193 runs in 10 innings for the Punjab Kings (PBKS).
However, Gayle was included in the West Indies squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021 despite his struggles and having lost his place at the top of the batting order in the recent home series against South Africa and Australia, and it is being said that it was just because of his “reputation”.
A respected Caribbean cricket journalist and broadcaster Fazeer Mohammed told AFP: “Chris Gayle goes into his final major international tournament not on merit but on reputation.”
Mr. Mohammed further added, “His declining numbers since the last World T20 in 2016 mean, unless there is a remarkable transformation in the UAE, he will be little more than a peripheral figure in purely cricketing terms for the defending champions.”
However, Gayle refuses to see himself out of the park at the moment, but it is being said that the T20 World Cup in Oman and the UAE this year will be a fitting farewell for the legendary batter.
Gayle had stated after hitting a match-winning 67 against Australia in July 2021: “Don't mind the numbers, Chris Gayle not getting the runs, soon to be 42; you guys should be happy to see Chris Gayle on the field still.”
He concluded, “Hopefully Chris will last as long as possible. Cherish those moments. Commentators, don't put no stats about Chris Gayle not scoring a half-century. Just respect the 'Universe Boss' playing some cricket and having some fun. Enjoy the moment.”
(With AFP Inputs)