Chris Gayle, West Indies batting legend and a dashing opener who has been busy of late with the Ultimate Kricket Challenge (UKC) in Dubai feels the visitors do have the upper hand against Australia.
An India tour of Australia never lacks excitement on or off the field. The honours were shared after the limited-overs leg of India’s current tour, with Australia winning the ODI series and India winning the subsequent three-match T20I series by similar margins of 2-1.
Chris Gayle: India Have Momentum And Has A Strong Bench
The ongoing Test series where both teams desperately want to win is level at 1-1. India had won the maiden Test series in Australia on their 2018-19 tour by 2-1. This time around as well, there has been no shortage of drama in the two completed Tests so far.
In the first Day and Night Test in Adelaide, the visitors looked clearly at edge having 1st innings lead before a short period of madness saw India being shot out for their lowest ever Test innings total (36) and collapsing to a loss.
Shane Warne said India will be ‘blown away’ by Australia in the Boxing Day Test as no one fancied a comeback. But Team India showed their character despite missing key players like Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami. The fantastic 8 wicket win didn’t just level the series at 1-1 but also showed that this current team is capable of hitting back hard when they have their backs to the wall.
West Indian legend Chris Gayle feels the visitors do have the upper hand at Sydney which will be a batting paradise and help spinners.
“Well, they have built momentum now to play at Sydney Cricket Ground as well, it should be a batting paradise. And I think that their (India’s) spin came into play. Hence, it shows the advantage is actually with India.” Gayle told TimesofIndia.com.
The average first innings score at the SCG is 317. The highest total recorded at this venue is 705/7 declared which was scored by India in 2003-04 when Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman hit tons.
India have managed to overcome the void created by missing key players which showed that the team might be depleted, but it is not weak and is one of the positives going forward as Chris Gayle says India have the good bench strength to cope with players absence.
“That’s a big plus for Team India, you know, big players missing, someone gets the chance to cash in and make the best use of it. And they (India) got a victory as well. So it’s fantastic from a team point of view. India always has a very strong bench, so the guys who will come in will always be ready, you know, to actually fill those gaps.” Gayle, who has over 19,000 international runs, with 42 centuries further told TimesofIndia.com.
The biggest positive for India after the massacre in Adelaide and Virat Kohli’s departure has been the way Ajinkya Rahane has captained the side. There will be changes to the playing XI, the conditions will be different and Australia will be itching to hit back which means Ajinkya Rahane’s job isn’t over.
“Based on his Captaincy record, he hasn’t lost any Test yet, so it’s good, he is a solid batsman, solid player and also a calm thinker. So, you know, he’s a good guy to lead the team as well also, he led from the front.” Gayle further told TimesofIndia.com.
Ajinkya Rahane has won all three Tests he has captained so far -two against Australia and one against Afghanistan in Virat Kohli’s absence.
Chris Gayle: Legacy Of Ultimate Kricket Challenge Is Here To Stay
Chris Gayle, who is also extremely popular in India, courtesy his exploits in the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he still holds the records for most centuries and most sixes, really enjoyed himself competing in the inaugural UKC 2020 season which saw six all-rounders including Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh, Kevin Pietersen, Rashid Khan, Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell compete in a unique one on one format.
Rashid Khan emerged as the champion, with Andre Russell finishing as the runner-up.
“I am very excited for the UKC format, just like other players and I’m sure that cricket fans all over the world are excited too. And, legacy of the UKC is here to stay. I firmly believe that it’s a revolution in the Cricket world.” Gayle said.
The advent of the UKC indicates how much fans, especially the younger ones, globally are looking forward towards shorter and shorter formats of the game which isn’t remaining a secret.
“Absolutely, and I think the television rights actually benefit as well, considering such formats are very short. And talking about UKC format it takes maybe an hour or 45 minutes to complete. Therefore, it perfectly falls into the category of short formats and surely an interesting one. Hence, it’s very thrilling and exciting.” Gayle further said.
There’s a reason why T20 and T10 franchise based leagues are so popular and players like Chris Gayle isn’t retiring soon as he enjoys playing shortest format.