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Lucky to see the Gayle storm

There are many sports lovers who follow teams around to watch them play and enjoy the successes that they have. This happens with just about all the various codes depending on the passions and preferences of those concerned.

In each of the sports, many know about the special feats or have heard of them even if it is not a sport that they follow too closely. To be at the scene of an outstanding and special performance is due to good fortune a lot of time as nobody knows when that something special is going to happen.

I have been privileged to see quite a few ‘out of this world’ exhibitions by exceptional cricket players over the course of my playing and broadcasting career. It was amazing to call the magnificent and yet brutal 175 not out that the big Jamaican, Chris Gayle scored at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Tuesday.

The atmosphere at the stadium is generally very good, but in light of what was being witnessed by the jam-packed forty to fifty thousand fans that were lucky enough to have tickets for that match, the noise seemed to be double the normal levels. It was a combination of excitement, surprise and awe that this man could, with such regularity, keep sending the ball into the crowd.

When Gayle got to his half century in just 17 balls, the chatter in the commentary box began to look towards how quickly he could get to a hundred. At that point, the sane and often correct thought that he was playing “too well” and would mishit one and get out sooner than later was articulated by someone and mostly accepted.

Well, it was not correct that time as he brought up three figures in just 30 balls and then the discussions moved on to whether he could notch up a double century. He was not far away in the end. It really was a sight to behold and just incredible how it all went Gayle's way; just about every attempt to send the ball over the ropes was successful.

There have been some who say that the way Gayle played was due in part to the lack of quality as far as the bowlers are concerned and in order to put things into perspective it is important to acknowledge those cries.

However, all the players in the tournament play each other and yet we have not ever seen a display like that. I feel that it does not take away from what the man did; it truly was an awesome display of power hitting to witness.

Prior to that Gayle innings, there were stellar performances from David Miller (80 not out off 41 balls) and Mandeep Singh (77 not out off 50 balls) for Kings XI Punjab and then in the Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals match Shane Watson (101 off 61 balls) and Michael Hussey (88 off 51 balls) entertained the crowd.

I reckon that seeing those particularly good innings on the telly would have spurred the big Jamaican on to want to do even better. He is King in Bangalore, of that there is no doubt as just about everyone in the shops and on the streets say his name every time they see a foreigner associated with the cricket going on.

He, however, wants to stamp his name on the whole tournament and be known as the “big dog”. He has a found a way to churn out runs for his side and is comfortably the most successful over the years in the tournament in that regard, but it seems it is now about how he gets those runs.

Well, it is Gayle everyone is talking about now and that innings will be spoken about in Bangalore a long time from now and am sure that it will be so in other parts of the world too.

The icing on the cake was how he managed in all of that to stay true to his philosophy of trying to entertain the crowds through some interaction with them during the performance. He plays up to them and they love him for it and the connection will keep them yearning for more and more.

They say records are made to be broken, I hope that I am there if and when this one is surpassed. What a knock it was!!

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