Chris Gayle is not a very efficient batsman any more

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Chris Gayle (via Sky Sports)

Chris Gayle has always played catch-up. A batsman with a capacity to score quicker than most, he has often taken the time to play himself in before engaging his core to spectator-peppering effect.

But just as his personality often seems to have descended into self-parody these days, so has his batting. The slow start has become slower and the catching up even more necessarily urgent.

People say that this is okay so long as he does catch up. But does he? In this match he hit 12 sixes and still only scored at a run a ball.

That’s no mean feat. Gayle hit 72 runs in sixes and still managed to score slower than Joe Root, who made a hundred in the very same match without clearing the boundary even once.

Gayle played out 64 dot balls in that innings of 135. Jason Roy’s hundred came off 65 balls.

People say that the risk with Gayle’s approach is that he wastes a load of deliveries playing himself in and then gets out – but there’s a point at which playing yourself in becomes inefficient no matter what happens next.

England, in contrast, start hitting early and keep on hitting throughout the innings. In a flat pitch how-many-runs-can-you-possibly-score situation, this gives them a crucial edge.

And if they’re chasing, they can actually ease off a bit later on – as you can see from this run-rate chart from Cricinfo.

As we’ve written before, sixes hit late in an innings can often bring the shadow of two more that weren’t hit earlier on.

Gayle hits a lot of mid-to-late innings sixes and we’d argue that this only really succeeds in better highlighting what he isn’t doing earlier on.

A 110-metre six is still only a six, while a dot ball is always a dot ball. Chris Gayle is not a very efficient batsman any more.


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  1. I also thought: how many run runs (as it were) did Gayle leave on the field yesterday, both as striker and non-striker?

    He barely tried to convert ones into twos and must’ve missed at least 10 runs in this way. He didn’t take many quick singles and perhaps he also failed to convert some twos into threes. Maybe he caused the West Indies to miss out on 15-20 runs.

    If you factor these missed runs out of his score—maybe that’s not very fair—his run rate would be well below 100. In any case, a 125 ball innings @ SR90 isn’t much help to the West Indies when England looked like they could’ve cruised to 400.

    1. Former West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle has been injured by a faulty table umbrella at a Haven Holidays caravan site in Essex. “It just collapsed on him as he was putting it up,” said one shocked bystander, “I think he got his finger caught in the mechanism as it came down.”

      “Nasty,” she added.

      A spokesperson for Haven Holidays said that they had already started and finished a thorough investigation. “The problem was he took too long in getting going,” said the spokesperson, “like twenty-five minutes or so, and all the while his hand was in danger. Then a gust of wind caused it to fold up on him. The pillock.”

      A spokesperson for West Indies cricket said that this assessment was entirely in line with their own view, carried out over twenty years or so.

      1. I laughed out loud – well writ that chap.

        CamemBert’s back…

        …as in returned…

        …he’s not got a hardened crust of penicillium camemberti or anything like that.

  2. He probably always was such a batsman, its just that he would hit many more sixes than he does now and so would make up for a slow start. At age 39, he is probably unable to sustain that level of hitting.

    Take, for instance, Rohit Sharma’s innings of 264 which won the best batting performance of 2014. He was 4 off 18, which turned into 12 off 25 at the end of the first powerplay. From there on, this is how his innings progressed:

    50 off 72, 100 off 100, 150 off 125, 200 off 151 and 250 off 166

    He scored 150 in the last 66 balls that he faced. Or 200 in the last 94. These numbers are absolutely insane. I would argue that Chris Gayle is simply unable to sustain that rate of scoring now.

    That should, obviously, mean that he should change the way he approaches the start of his innings. But its Chris Gayle. So he won’t.

    1. He hit 12 sixes. His six-hitting has not slowed down. It’s everything else that has. There is almost no level of six-hitting that can compensate for everything else that he currently doesn’t do.

      1. Agreed, sustained scoring is more than just hitting sixes. Kohli scored 1200 runs last year in ODIs and hit only 13 sixes doing it. He scored those runs at a strike rate of 102.

        Maybe if Gayle stopped trying to hit sixes and spent his energy more wisely, he’d score faster?

      2. Meh, he’s no Graham Napier.

        Nothing wrong with his 6 hitting. He just needed to back it up with some 4s if he didn’t fancy running.

  3. Mark Wood plays Mario Kart? If there was any doubt about him being my favourite cricketer, he’s thrown a blue shell followed by three reds at it.

  4. One very prescient chap – not sure if it was someone who comments here, didn’t recognise the name – commented to the same effect on the BBC website just after the WI innings finished, i.e. before Roy even got started on demolishing the target. Everyone else had been saying how amazing Gayle was, coming back into the side and making yet another ton, hitting all those 6s, and he said that on the contrary, it was selfish showboating and might cost the team dear come the end of the match (…) – same point made above, regarding singles turned down, 1s not converted to 2s etc. He said that if you’re using up 125+ balls, you need to be scoring 175 not 135.

    – And previously, Gayle would have scored that many. It must be possible to measure his (relative) decline just by looking at his strike rate. All those famous T20 scores of his: what caught the eye was not just the total and the number of 6s, but the strike rate which was typically well over 100 – sometimes over 200. He always took time to play himself in; now it’s the balls wasted once he’s already set which are the problem. If he can’t hit a maximum then he can’t really be bothered (oversimplification, but…). And of course it really did the cost team: in what was supposedly a demanding chase, England never looked as they wouldn’t get there (admittedly, if WI had held some of those catches…)

    Series now intriguingly poised, mind – ?

  5. Lovely to see a Sri Lankan team … post-Murali, post-Jayawardene, post-Sanga … win in South Africa.

    I was astonished that the only tourists to win a Test series there before are England and Australia.

    What’s the ranking of Test countries by “number of touring countries that have ever beaten us at home?” Technically Afghanistan might be topping that table at the moment…

    1. The whole Sri Lankan heist thing is incredible, especially given their recent results. Did SA just totally underestimate them or what?

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