Chris Gayle takes a look

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< 1 minute read

Much has been made of the fact that Chris Gayle has become consistent at Twenty20, because many mistakenly believe the format is all about luck. Clearly it isn’t, as Gayle has shown. His has been a calculating method: See off the good bowler; cane Joe McMilitary-Medium.

However, this execution of Twenty20 arse-spankery has left a little obscured. In club and franchise cricket, there’s always at least three bowlers who are middling-to-crap, but what of international cricket?

A man who’s hit triple hundreds against South Africa and Sri Lanka clearly once had it and on yesterday’s evidence, Gayle still does. Every England pace bowler he faced got a damn good shoeing.

He did it the old-fashioned way. He took a look. Having made one run off Steven Finn’s first seven deliveries to him, Gayle then engaged the long handle, thumping and fluking three successive fours. He took a look at James Anderson as well before going on the offensive, although by the time Tim Bresnan came into the attack, the long handle couldn’t be disengaged.

If he did make a mistake, it was in continuing to bat left-handed against Graeme Swann. Studies show that is not an effective strategy.


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  1. Here are some interesting facts from Chris Gayle’s 20 T20 innings:

    12 scores under 15
    2 scores between 16 and 25
    0 scores between 26 and 60
    6 scores between 61 and 117

    It’s the 26-60 range that tells you the most. He is either seeing it like a beach ball, in which case Look Out confectionary stall owners! Or he isn’t.

    It’s not luck. But it isn’t entirely skill either.

    1. So every time he passes a quarter century, he makes sure to convert it into a half century. What’s wrong with that?

    2. The problem is the position this leaves his teammates in. To be honest I’d rather have a batsman that can consistantly hit 30-40 rather than do bugger all for 70% of his innings.

    3. …and you can tell us who that consistent 30-40 run batsman in IT20 cricket is, please?

    4. Wolf, these are insanely good statistics. I would wager that not many batsmen make 60+ scores 30% of the time in T20.

      I often wonder what are the T20 equivalents of 50 and 100 (as applied to ODIs). The innings length is 40% of an ODI inning, but the scoring rate is about 50% higher (the T20 equivalent of a 300 score is probably 180). So by that logic the T20 equivalent of a 100 will be a 60.

      But the vastly reduced number of overs disadvantage lower-order batsmen disproportionately – in an ODI a number-5 batsman has a decent chance of making a 100, but in T20 he has virtually no chance of making a 60.

    5. From which we can conclude that lower order batsmen are far less important in Twenty20s. Yet a lot of teams still opt for stacks of “all-rounders” in a bizarre quest for batting depth.

    6. I didn’t mean to comment on Chris Gayle with these statistics. I think they are a reflection of the nature of the game, which is based on putting a series of talented batsmen in line and telling them to go and swing madly. If the batsmen were less talented, obviously they wouldn’t do as well. It’s not luck per se, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. That is the complete extent of a T20 match, there is nothing else. Gayle’s numbers say exactly that. He doesn’t have different tactics. Today he swings madly, and because his eye is in he scores superbly. Tomorrow he swings madly, and because his eye isn’t in he doesn’t score well. No matter, the next guy can come in and swing madly (and hope his eye is in) just the same.

      That doesn’t make it any less of a proper sport. Usain Bolt is told to run fast and nothing else. But like 100m sprinting, it is completely one-dimensional. This batsman is the same as the next batsman. This match is the same as the next match. This series is the same as the next series. The contrast with test cricket couldn’t be more marked.

    7. We think the difference between the two formats is extremely stark, but wouldn’t go quite so far as to say that Twenty20 is one-dimensional.

      Some batsmen go after everything and sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t. Gayle tends to go after certain bowlers in the knowledge that he can easily make up for playing out a maiden against a better bowler. It’s not a huge difference, but this is what makes him a significantly better Twenty20 batsman than most.

      We’d still rather watch him in Tests, obviously, where he might bat all day and be faced with all sorts of different challenges.

    8. Bert, I don’t think T20 batsmanship is one-dimensional at all. I cannot make out trends in international T20 because of the sporadic nature of matches, but 5 years’ evidence from the IPL, I am convinced that batsmen who bat in only one gear (i.e. the 5th) have generally been failures. On the other hand, batsmen who construct an innings by adjusting to different bowlers, different match situations and their own areas of strength and weakness. That is why, as KC points out, Gayle is a better T20 player than Sehwag. That is why Keiron Pollard is a nitwit.

      Exhibit 1: During a particularly savage innings of 128 from 62 balls in this year’s IPL, Gayle had made 10 off 17 balls after 6 overs, and had even played out a maiden. That is not unidimensional batting.

    9. I wish there were a way to edit comments. Now the world will forever wonder that batsmen who construct an innings DO WHAT?

    10. I think if you’re looking for nuance in T20, you’re trying too hard to find something that isn’t there. It’s just a contrived format of the game designed to condense it into an evening to help attendances/viewing figures.

      Personally, I wish they’d go to the O1 format, that way we could have the purest form of limited over attacking cricket, and as an added bonus it would all over in a day. That way they could go back to playing FC and Test cricket in the middle of the summer like they should do.

    11. Ok maybe there isn’t a player as consistant as I mentioned but both Gambhir and McCullum have a much better distribution of scores:
      9 scores under 15
      5 scores between 16 and 25
      9 scores between 26 and 60
      2 scores between 61 and 117
      17 scores under 15
      8 scores between 16 and 25
      16 scores between 26 and 60
      5 scores between 61 and 117

      I’m sure I could find more. There is no denying that Gayle has a great eye but the patchy distribution of scores says more about him than the T20 format. I would select either of the batsmen above in my team (yes even Gambhir) instead of Gayle.

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