Opening acts, Gayle & Watson, set to fashion end result
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Out there in the middle, surrounded by the opposition and then the crowds, Chris Gayle always seems to be in a terrific hurry. But minutes before he walks in to bat, a scenario that repeats itself at the start of every practice session as well, he is slow. Awfully so.
Before the nets session on Thursday afternoon, long after the rest of the squad had started bowling, batting or fielding, Gayle sat by the sidelines, staring at his kitbag. Very slowly, he took out his supporter-brief and wore it over his trackpants. Like Superman.
Then, he tightened his shoe laces in double knots, put on his pads, wore his thigh pads and adjusted his elbow guard. The bandana followed, taking its own sweet time to be adjusted on his scalp. The helmet should have completed the routine, but finding the right pair of gloves kickstarted a process that ended with him weighing, and then finally choosing, the best of the five bats he wanted to use at the nets. Fifteen minutes into his dressing up, Gayle walked in to bat.
In completely uncharacteristic silence, the Jamaican left-hander walked in to bat. Others around him fooled about, but not Gayle. The focus was on what was going to unfold over the next hour or so. The 'Gangnam Style' moves, apparently, is reserved only for tense situations on the field.
Or maybe he was just in a no-nonsense mood after his alleged room hosting skills with three British women made more news than he would have liked it to. All said and done, it was Gayle at his intense best. Something the Aussies will look to put to an end faster than the elaborate preparations he undergoes before every batting session.
So, a day before the second and most eagerly anticipated semi-final between West Indies and Australia, the big talking point — for all the right and wrong reasons — in both camps was Chris Gayle. While the West Indians were quick to play down the hotel room incident, Australia skipper George Bailey was more than happy to indulge in some Gayle talk.