Cricket

Published on May 8th, 2017 | by Suraj Choudhari

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Is Chris Gayle era coming to an end in the IPL?

Chris Gayle takes guard at his beloved M Chinnaswamy; Umesh Yadav steams in, gets a bit of movement, which is enough to induce a leading edge and the Caribbean giant is dismissed for a duck. Frustration continues for Gayle as well as Royal Challengers Bangalore this season. Saying that Chris Gayle is a force to reckon in Twenty20(T20) format would be an understatement. With 10089 runs, 18 centuries and an unbeaten 175 as his highest score, Gayle is a legend when it comes to T20 cricket. But the last few seasons hasn’t been as merry as it used to be for the maverick southpaw.

Gayle has scored runs at will, widely reckoned for his ability to strike big and inflict massive damage at the top. With his fabulous hand-eye co-ordination and brute force, Gayle has been the reason behind some of the worst nightmares for many bowlers. When Chris Gayle gets going, he not only dominates the best of the bowling attacks but makes a mockery of them. This anomaly is better explained when he take a look at his overall T20 figures.

Gayle’s T20 career in numbers

Matches         Runs Average Strike-rate HS 100s 50s 4s 6s
294 10089 40.03 149.04 175* 18 61 771 743

 

To have such fantastic numbers to one’s name demands consistency backed with colossal firepower. Gayle holds the record for having the most number of T20 runs in a career. And the fact that next-best on that list is 2399 runs away from him makes his run astronomical. Brendon McCullum with 7690 runs stands second in the list in as many as 278 games so far. But fortunes have taken a massive turn on Gayle as the manic batsman’s impact in T20 cricket seems to be languishing in the recent times. The numbers below gives a clear idea of how Gayle’s form has been on a decline in the recent times.

Gayle’s T20 records in phases

Period Matches Runs Average SR 100s 50s
Before 2011 52 1379 29.79 134.79 1 8
2011 – 2015 177 7094 48.58 152.36 15 17
2016 till date 66 1616 26.93 148.25 2 8

 

The numbers above are a testament to his excellence in the bat and how he dominated T20 cricket in his prime. Gayle was at his brutal best from 2011 to 2015 but the same confidence has gone for a toss in the recent times. He has struggled at crucial junctures for which his team had to pay dearly as he is a match-winner and a lot of his team’s success depends on how he fares. The huge difference of 21.65 in his average from 2016 onwards and 2011-2015 indicates his dip in form and simultaneously the runs column.

Gayle was roped in by Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011, which is when he actually started clicking in the cash-rich extravaganza. He justified his selection and announced himself with a bang, winning matches single-handedly in next three season but had a terrible run in 2014.

Gayle’s prolific years in the Indian Premier League

Year M R Ave 100s 50s SR
2011 12 608 67.55 2 3 183.1
2012 15 733 61.08 1 7 160.7
2013 16 708 59 1 4 156.3

 

Gayle was unstoppable during these three years of the Indian Premier League. H sent shivers down the opposition’s spine for his assault against the new ball. He was regularly converting good starts into a big score and steered RCB to a dominating position. In 2013, Gayle inscribed his name in the history of cricket with gold when he went berserk and plundered an unbeaten 175 against Pune Warriors India and recorded the highest T20 score ever.

After a forgettable run in 2014, Gayle returned from strong in 2015 and did reasonably well to have 491 runs to his name from 14 games. But his story in the previous and the ongoing editions has rather been ordinary.

Gayle’s performance in the last four editions including 2017 (IPL)

Year M R Ave 100s 50s SR
2014 9 196 21.77 0 0 106.5
2015 14 491 40.91 1 2 147.4
2016 10 227 22.7 0 2 151.3
2017 8 152 19 0 1 121.60

 

The ongoing edition saw Gayle being dismissed on a single digit on five occasions. His eight innings in the IPL read – 0,0,8,7,77,22,6,32. In fact, his parched runs column also saw him being dropped from the playing XI on few occasions. His only moment of glory came against one of the weaker bowling attacks of Gujarat Lions where he scored 77 to help his side register a win. Not to forget, he also got a reprieve early on in the innings, when Brendon McCullum’s hat interestingly came in contact with the boundary rope as soon as he landed after cupping a fantastic catch.

There is a huge difference in Gayle’s run in last four editions and the three before that.

Gayle’s records in IPL

Period  Matches Runs Average SR 100s 50s
2011- 2013 43 2049 62.09 165.10 4 14
2014 – to date (2017) 41 1066 27.33 134.59 1 5
2016 – 2017 18 379 21.05 137.81 0 3

 

Gayle averages 62.09 from 2011-2013 but his numbers take a beating from 2014 onwards, which is just 27.33. The awful difference of 34.76 in his averages from the first and the second phase of the table demonstrate his average run in the Indian Premier League. Also, Gayle has done comparatively well overall in T20 in the said phases but his performance in the IPL has been mediocre in the recent times.

With RCB being hampered with injuries and out of form key players, they’ve had a terrible time this season. At present, they are the bottom-dwellers and players like Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson’s form have been the key reasons behind it. Fans love Gayle; he’s been one of the most entertaining cricketers in the history of the tournament. But there are questions mounting on everyone’s mind at the moment regarding Gayle. Is this the end of Gayle’s career? Will he bounce back? Well, Gayle is a fighter, who never quits. But as of now, he is living on reputation. He needs some big runs under his belt to justify his position and one can expect him to do so. Also, the numbers don’t lie, or do they?

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About the Author

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Suraj Choudhari is a freelance sports journalist. He is an avid follower of the game and played the sport at club level. With a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, he tries to express it through paper and pen.



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