I want to play my part with both bat and bowl: Gayle
Having smashed the bowlers around with impunity in the Indian Premier League, West Indies batting powerhouse Chris Gayle is ready to roll his arm over as well and chip in for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
"I want to play my part with both bat and bowl. I am ready for the chance whenever the captain asks me," he said on the sidelines of a Volkswagen event, when he was asked about his part-time off-break bowling in the tournament.
While Gayle has amassed 250 runs, the highest for the Bangalore franchise, in seven games, he has bowled only a few overs and gone wicket-less.
The swashbuckling opener and former Windies skipper, who has a top score of 87 this IPL season and strike rate of plus-150, is happy with his display so far and hopeful of continuing to perform well for the remainder of the tournament.
"It is good to get some runs at the start. Hopefully, can continue and capitalise on the start and try and make the best use of it. You want to start good [have runs under the belt]. You don't want to leave it too late. It is going to be a key as well going into the tournament.
"As a player you want to start well and have some confidence. It is a situation where you get a start but you don't want to settle for it and want to keep going."
'Sometimes you need to give credit to the bowler as well'
About the number of last ball or last over results this season, Gayle said the credit should go to the bowlers of various teams.
"Sometimes you need to give credit to the bowler as well. Bowlers try to restrict the batsmen and then the last one or two overs can change the game. But it also depends on the number of wickets you have. Guys bowl well and you have to appreciate that," he observed.
Gayle said it's a very close tournament so far with only Deccan Chargers without a victory under their belt.
"Honestly, it is going to be tough [to predict about teams finishing in the top 4 and qualifying for the play-offs] as all the teams are playing well. Deccan are the only team who haven't won a game yet. Later on things might be difficult for all the teams. It is a situation where everyone is neck and neck."
Gayle termed Mumbai Indians' bowling spearhead Lasith Malinga as a "challenging bowler", adding the playing surface also contributes to making some bowlers challenging.
"Malinga is a challenging bowler. It depends on surface as well and sometimes spinners can be challenging. The new ball is always challenging especially the bowlers holding it and once it withers out it is again challenging. Every bowler has chance to pick up a wicket," he said.
Talking about the West Indies team's showing, the Jamaican said, "We have done well in both T20 and ODI series. But we need a series win. That is always the key. The series win will be good for us. We need to play consistently," he said.
'It is absolutely relaxing, to be honest'
On not playing international cricket currently because of his dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board, he said, "It is absolutely relaxing, to be honest. You are not going to get lots of international cricket. So you are more there with a calm mind and not getting worried too much. You represent a team and you go out there and do the job.
"We will see what happens," he remarked when asked whether he would be playing in the World T20 Cup slated later this year in Sri Lanka.
Considered a specialist in the shorter format due to his lethal batting, Gayle represents Royal Challengers Bangalore, Barisal Burners and Sydney Thunder.
He expressed happiness about fellow-West Indian Kevon Cooper doing well in the IPL in his debut year for Rajasthan Royals.
"I am very happy for him to be playing in the IPL for the first time and getting a brilliant start. He has done well with the ball and the bat. He is someone who can learn from this experience and make a name for himself. It is great to see him with the impact that he has begun," he said.
Expressing sadness about star India player Yuvraj Singh's illness that has interrupted his career, Gayle said he hopes to see the left-handed swashbuckler back in cricket action at the earliest.
"It is very sad. To be in that state at such young age is unfortunate. Hopefully we will see him back on the cricket field sometime soon. It is good to see him back with his family and loved ones."