Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com looks at the lighter side of how Chris Gayle remains lone star West Indies player Team India has to contend with in their Pool B encounter at the WACA.
Being a defending champion at the World Cup can put immense pressure on a team. But Team India is in an enviable position at the moment, having won their first three matches and set to top Pool B.
Next up for the Men in Blue is the West Indies.
The Caribbeans have been as unpredictable as predicted at the start of the tournament. While they failed to defend a formidable score (304) against Ireland in Nelson in their opener, they regrouped to destroy (by 150 runs) former champions Pakistan in their next match in Christchurch.
Their third, against Zimbabwe at the Manuka Oval (Canberra), witnessed their best batsman get going.
Chris Gayle notched the first-ever double hundred (215) in the World Cup, ensuring a 73-run victory (D/L method).
This brings us to the big man.
This West Indies side has a decent line-up of batsmen. Dwayne Smith, Lendl Simons, Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin can be good on their day.
However, when it comes to a real star, the Caribbeans have only one. Gayle. When on song, the 35-year-old can force any attack to submission and pulverise opponents.
And, perhaps, no one has felt the heat more than India.
In 36 matches against the Men in Blue, Gayle has aggregated 1220 runs. Only against Zimbabwe has he scored more (1532 in 29 matches). Besides, four of his 22 ODI hundreds have come against India. Against no team has he scored as many.
It is a fact that in recent times Gayle has flattered to deceive against bigger teams, scoring big only against the minnows.
However, it is also true that any team can hardly afford to take chances against a batsman of his calibre.
A player like him has the ability to get going any time. Considering that he can destroy the best of bowling attacks, India’s bowlers won't stand a chance should he find form.
The West Indies’ bowling attack per se does not have much to trouble the Indian batting, but that equation too changes if Gayle scores big.
To sum up, the clash at the WACA (Perth) on Friday is essentially Team India vs Chris Gayle. Should India get him cheap it will ensure a fourth straight victory. Conversely, a first reverse cannot be ruled out.