Chris Gayle just did a Chris Gayle today against India. That probably would be the best description for the 41-ball-72. An innings that started with a maiden, changed gears with a straight free hit six off Mohammed Shami, marveled us with a flat six over long on off Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, and eventually ended with a strike-rate of 175 after some more brutal hitting.
The effortless hitting showed a glimpse of vintage Gayle in his final innings. Wait! Was this the final innings? A big question, with no answer. He had previously said that the last match of the 2019 World Cup would be his last. But Gayle then came back to play the India series. That he would play after the World Cup, was unknown to captain Jason Holder himself until Gayle’s press conference.
To talk about such a retirement with certainty, none other than the man himself would be viable.
The ovation that he got, the way the Indian players went in to congratulate the big man, the way Gayle walked off the big stage, everything certainly looked like a stage set for a farewell.
But was this just an illusion? Are we seeing what we want to see? Is this a mirage?
The question still remains. Was this Chris Gayle’s retirement?
If the T20 World Cup next year was to be assumed as his next target, he had already said he won’t participate in the T20s.
For a man who has last played a test match in 2014, if ending the career in whites was a desire, if the test series against India was to be assumed as his retirement series, Gayle is not picked for the series at all.
All this points towards his retirement. But just to reiterate, only he would know exactly.
During the World Cup, when Gayle announced that he will play against India, he said
“Maybe a Test match against India and then I’ll play, definitely play the ODIs against India. I won’t play the T20s. That’s my plan after World Cup. I still have a few games to go, maybe another series to go, who knows? We’ll see what happens.”
He ended with a “We’ll see what happens.” Probably the only thing we can do, of course, apart from enjoying the final few days of the sheer audacity that he brings into the game with the kind of powerful batsmanship that very few if not none other than the “Universe Boss” can show.