MUMBAI, India – Veteran West Indies opener Chris Gayle has listed winning next year’s World Cup in England among his remaining high priorities, as his stellar international career winds towards an end.
The 38-year-old returned to West Indies one-day colours following a near 2-1/2 year break last September, and will now spearhead the Caribbean’s batting at the May 30 to July 14 World Cup.
“Just two things,” Gayle said in reference to his remaining career targets.
“Winning the IPL this year and the World Cup for West Indies next year. I believe West Indies have a big chance of winning the World Cup in 2019.
“I know we struggled in the qualifiers but now that we’ve made it, our next aim is to win it. But right now it’s definitely the IPL. [Kings XI Punjab] have never won it.”
Gayle is the Windies leading one-day player, scoring 9 585 runs from 281 One-Day Internationals, and notching 23 centuries.
The upcoming showpiece in England is expected to be his last World Cup, which remains the only title missing from his achievements.
Gayle has been in excellent form in the Indian Premier League, already having scored 252 runs from four innings at an average of 126 and a strike rate of 161.
Ironically, Gayle almost missed out on this year’s campaign after being released by Royal Challengers Bangalore with whom he spent several seasons, and then only being picked up by Kings XI late in the draft for his base price.
With speculation rife that his powers were on the wane, Gayle said his heavy scoring for Kings XI had not been an attempt to prove anything to detractors.
“I don’t know if I’ve actually proved them wrong. There are always going to be doubters but at the same time I didn’t have anything to prove,” the Jamaican explained.
“My records speak for themselves. Even though I was selected in the very last round of the auction, I wasn’t really worried about it. Even if it was the end of it, there is life … a life beyond cricket, beyond the IPL.
“At some stage, you are going to walk away from the IPL and other forms of cricket, so I was never too intrigued. This is how I’ve always been – living in the present.”
He added: “But given the sense that I was picked up and playing for a new franchise, it was very pleasing. And the way I have played in the first three games, I think it has been fantastic. I’m very happy with where I’m at.” – CMC