If Chris Gayle stands by his decision to retire from ODIs after the World Cup there is little doubt that he will be missed by the entire cricketing community the world over. As an entertainer par excellence Gayle has few equals. Few batsmen have made bowlers look more helpless as he just smashes them for fours all over the ground or for huge sixes into the stands and beyond. Moreover his image as a fun loving cricketer who loved his dance steps almost as much as he enjoyed batting endeared him to cricket fans. His approach might have looked casual but he was deadly serious about his game.
Gayle is very much a cricketer of the times. As a professional to the core he always felt it was his right to ply his trade around the cricketing world and a look at his CV is simply astonishing. The number of teams he has played for in the various T-20 leagues is unique. All the same whenever he represented the West Indies he did his best for the team and this is underscored by his superb record in international limited overs cricket.
And for someone who once famously said that he would not be sad if Test cricket died Gayle did a lot to keep it alive. He is only one among four cricketers to have scored a triple hundred twice the others being Don Bradman, Brian Lara and Virender Sehwag. And he did play in 103 Tests between 2000 and 2014 and would have played many more but for his brushes with authority. And given his batting approach a record of 7214 runs at an average of 42 with 15 hundreds is not one to be scoffed at.
Overall however Gayle will be remembered for his exploits in limited overs cricket for his game was tailor made for it. After a 19 year career Gayle is approaching the 10,000 run mark. He is only 273 runs short and should get there during the World Cup. A strike rate of almost 86 with 23 hundreds allied to the fact that he is only one of six batsmen to get a double hundred in the format underscores his brilliance. And as only to be expected Gayle was a natural for T-20 cricket. His swashbuckling batting empties bars and attracted a worldwide TV audience and not unexpectedly he has been among the first choices for T-20 franchisees anywhere in the world.