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.