In the ‘70s, ‘80s and even in the ‘90s there were few matches which produced results. Most Tests ended in a draw, due to batsmen’s long stay at the crease who waited for bad balls. Since the introduction of Twenty20 leagues, the pace has increased manifold. Batsmen now try to hit every ball out of the ground.
The first Twenty20 International match was played between Australia and New Zealand in 2005. The shortest format of the game got popular quickly and the International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced T20 championship whose first edition was held in South Africa in 2007.
It is generally assumed that T20 is the game of young guns, but if we see the statistics, oldies have been dominating the game.
Last week during the Indian Premier League match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions, former West Indian captain Chris Gayle became the first batsman to reach 10,000 runs in Twenty20 cricket. The Caribbean star achieved the milestone in his 290th Twenty20 game.
After completing 10,000 T20 runs, Gayle accepted that he wanted to achieve this milestone and was glad to have done it. He hopes to continue entertaining the crowd.
There was no significant contribution from Chris Gayle in the early matches of IPL 2017 due to which he was dropped, but got a chance in place of injured AB de Villiers against Gujarat Lions. He didn’t miss the opportunity and hit a 38-ball 77, including seven sixes and five fours. He provided a blasting 122-run opening stand with skipper Virat Kohli in 12.4 overs as Royal Challengers Bangalore finished at 213-2 in 20 overs.
Gayle scored the first century in Twenty20 international (117), against South Africa in the first match of the 2007 World Cup. He became the first batsman to score a century in all three international formats.
Christopher Henry Gayle made his T20 debut for the PCA Masters XI in September 2005. He played his first Twenty20 International against New Zealand in February 2006 in which he scored only 10 runs. Since then, he has played in nearly every T20 league in every major cricket-playing nation in the world.
Interestingly, out of 10,000 T20 runs, he scored only 1519 runs for West Indies in 50 matches. He has played for Barisal Bulls, Chittagong Vikings, Dhaka Gladiators, Jamaica, Jamaica Tallawahs, Karachi Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Lahore Qalandars, Lions, Matabeleland Tuskers, Melbourne Renegades, PCA XI, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Somerset, Stanford Superstars, Sydney Thunder and Western Australia.
There is a huge gap (2,478 runs) between the top scorer Gayle and the second highest run-getter, former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum who has 7,596 runs in 272 matches.
Chris Gayle has hit most number of centuries (18) and fifties (61) in the game. He also has the record of highest T20 individual score. He scored 175, off just 66 balls, for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Pune Warriors in 2014. He has hit 743 sixes and 769 fours in the game, both highest in the world.
He is a player who doesn’t believe in scoring runs in ones and twos. He hits the ball unbelievably hard with tremendous power and hits the sixes around the ground with ease.
Despite his age, his performance has improved year by year. Till 2011, he had played 51 T20 matches in which he had scored 1379 runs with one hundred. But from 2011 to 2015, Gayle hit 15 centuries in 174 matches.
He is also the first batsman who hit a six off the first ball of a Test match, against debutant off spinner Sohag Gazi of Bangladesh in Mirpur in 2012 and finished the first over with 18 runs on the board.