ICC Champions Trophy: Will Gayle be Aj-mauled?
In cricket, rivalries go way back; Miandad-Lillee’s and Imran-Botham’s conflict are a few examples worth mentioning. I have also witnessed the same between Wasim Akram and Brian Lara; Wasim Akram got the best of Brian Lara at least seven times.
Similarly, there was a rivalry between Glenn McGrath and Brian Lara where McGrath got Lara out on 15 occasions. Although, this might not be interesting to some of us, this is something spectators invest their time looking upon.
However, in recent years after the emergence of domestic T-20 leagues, players have gelled in well with each other and that dangerous yet highly anticipated enmity amongst opposition is not as prominent as it used to be in the early-mid and late 90s.
Recently, I came across a news story where number one ranked ODI bowler Saeed Ajmal has placed a target on Chris Gayle in the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy.
“He (Gayle) may be a good batsman but I am also the number one spinner and look forward to dismissing him quickly and seizing the advantage."
In the past, both Gayle and Ajmal have met three times in the ODIs; out of those three times, Gayle was dismissed before Ajmal came on to bowl on two occasions. Gayle has faced Ajmal in only one ODI where he scored 16 off 34 balls. Furthermore, he has played 27 matches against Pakistan and scored at least 840 runs with a strike rate of 89.07.
So is this rivalry good? Is it as good as the ones we have witnessed in the 80s and 90s?
I don’t think so. This is because I feel that a batsman like Gayle will not survive until Saeed Ajmal comes to bowl. Gayle is only good for T-20 leagues. Additionally, in the ODI series against the Aussies he played three matches and managed to score 10 runs with an average of 3.33.
Chris Gayle showed lacklustre performance in the first three ODIs and was doubtful for the remaining matches. Team management said that he was ‘rested'. However, the ‘rest’ continued when Zimbabwe toured West Indies. Now he is in for the ICC Champions Trophy after the prolific batting display in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013, but he does not deserve it because, according to me, players shouldn't be chosen in the ODI/Test team on the basis of T-20 performance.
Gayle is a terrific T-20 player but he does not have the required qualities to play a 50-overs format. His style of playing compliments shorter boundaries and fielding restrictions. His temperament also favours a shorter game. Unlike Amla, DeVilliers, Kohli and Cook, who build their innings and try to play out the 50 overs, Gayle is not able to do so.
I would advise Ajmal to choose a bigger target; focus on getting wickets of Amla, DeVilliers, Trott, Kohli etcetera and leave Chris Gayle for Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan.
Read more by Zunair here or follow him on Twitter @ZunairEjaz
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